That’s it. That’s the post.
Since @twang innocently enquired ‘Going out this weekend?’ (link at end) My own response was rather more bullish the the reality. I mentioned gigs that night and a few days later, both of which we went to, and a short break in Edinburgh after, which we cancelled after a sleepless night thinking about it.
So what have learned from a year unlike any other we have ever experienced and hopefully never will again? Some of my bullet point takes, and I’d be interested to see yours (or of course longer discussion).
Humans are extraordinarily adaptable creatures given the basics such as utilities and retail.
Retail workers seem to have been the forgotten heroes, and lets not leave out the supply chain which by and large kept shelves stocked.
Although the last 12 months have been ball-achingly dull they have, for someone like me lucky enough to stay well and stay in full time employment, not been personally unpleasant.
Speaking of work it’s plain that working from home, at least most of the time, if far better for a great many people and should have been introduced years ago.
My opinion of the government, never high, reached » Continue Reading.
Richard Thompson has announced a short set of solo UK and Ireland dates for October/November (link at the end). I’ve already bought tickets for London of course. Not only would I hate to miss out on a chance to see him, but by the time these dates roll around Richard will be 72. He’s always kept fit, hasn’t touched alcohol for decades and so on, but who knows how long he will want to, or possibly be able to, keep on touring.
And that is what got me thinking. The night before London he’ll be playing in Cardiff. The night before that in Manchester. The night after London he’ll be in Dublin. That sounds utterly exhausting. The travel, the different bed every night, the daily technical checks, maybe some interviews and other press duties, the adrenaline rush of the show late at night and the pressure to give your best for the audience.
I’m almost 20 years younger than Richard and reckon I would collapse after a week of that. Rock stars are just made of different stuff I guess.
Glancing down at the bottom of the front page of the blorum I can’t help but notice that we on page 666 of blog posts, forum fillers, recommendations, ATMs and general sociable internet-nattering. That’s all the reason I need to post this.
In this even quieter than usual gap between Christmas and New Year let us dig out our favourite obscure celebrity singles, the ones which people don’t believe exist until you play them (unless the other person is @beaney of course, in which case he probably has several copies already).
I found myself contemplating Reginald Bosanquet, the be-wigged and permanently soused news reader, when I posted the video below on another thread. Here are two remarkable facts about him:
1) He was only 53 when he died. 53! You would happily stick a decade or two on top of any reasonable estimate.
2) He once recorded a remarkable proto-dance single, which I present below for your entertainment and edification.
The Jazz Cafe, Camden, London
A night out you say? In London? In late 2020? Well, yes. Thanks to cabaret style table seating, table service for drinks and face coverings when not actually seated I was able to go to my first gig since my birthday in March. Even in a normal year when we would go to a gig or two a month this would be have been an excellent show, but in 2020 when audience and performers alike are starved of being in the same (socially distanced) room with a group of like minded people making and listening to music it was just the boost everyone needed.
This was an evening at The Jazz Café in Camden to celebrate the legacy of John Prine, who succumbed to Covid earlier this year. This first half was made up of covers of Prine songs, the second by the artists’ own material, from a line up of (deep breath) Angie Gannon, Beth Rowley, Felix Holt, Joe Harvey-White, Josh Flowers, Laura Tenshert, Louis Brennan, Michele Stodart, Naomi Larsson, Pat Ralla, Ren Harvieu, Robert Chaney, Romeo Stodart and Zak Hobbs.
The Jazz Café has been refurbished and greatly improved » Continue Reading.
It is my painful duty to inform you that Robbie Williams And Jamie Callum have done a swing-lite cover of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, just when the US election and the Covid vaccines were in danger of bringing some glimmers of hope to this wretched year.
I heard it earlier so I don’t see why shouldn’t suffer too. I say ‘heard’, but I saw it on The One Show and turned over after they had sung one line each. I would have been quicker but the remote had fallen behind a cushion. I think that should take you to around the 30 second mark, and if you can stand any more you’re a stronger person than me.
Tomorrow. You know, Thursday 19th November. That’s right! It’s International Men’s Day! We are overwhelmingly men on here so I’m sure the date has been flagged in our calendars for months.
I admit I have really known what this day is for, other than a quick rejoinder to those whose response to International Women’s Day is to ask, ‘When is International Men’s Day then, tell me that, eh?’ ‘It’s on Thursday mate.’ ‘Oh.’
According to the website of the UK organisation the three core themes for International Men’s Day in the UK are:
• Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys • Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing • Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity
The website goes on to list areas of concern around male wellbeing, both tangible such as health and suicide, and more nebulous, such as expectations of men as fathers.
So what do we think here? Does the modern world place strains on the twenty first century man which need to be discussed and addressed? How about assumption of the place of men in families? I don’t have any kids (though » Continue Reading.
Here’s a great for the folkies among us, a series of performances filmed in lockdown curated by Julie Fowlis, who also presents (in Gaelic with English subtitles). There are individual and collaborative performances from across the world, the collaborations often being filmed in separate locations. It is only broadcast in Scotland but the first two episodes are on iPlayer.
Earlier this year I posted with the header Brian May (Not Dead! Hurrah!), the bit in brackets clarifying that he had not fallen victim to Covid but had instead ‘shredded his buttocks’ in a bizarre gardening accident.
Now it seems that he believes he may have had it, and that it could have triggered a heart attack for which he was prescribed medication which ‘made his stomach explode’. Poor chap’s having one hell of a year with his health, and while I’ll never be a Queen fan he’s always come across as one of the good guys and I wish him well.
I’ve asked this in a couple of replies on Twitter today but not had any response. I’m hoping the hive mind of the Massive can help.
The news, and especially Twitter, is full of photos of people queuing, often for many hours, to vote in the US presidential election. The tone always invites the reader to be appalled that this is happening and suggests that making voting difficult is a deliberate tactic (typically to deter Democrat voters in the posts in my Twitter bubble).
Is there an unavoidable reason that these voters compelled to queue for that long, and so long before Election Day? November 3rd is still a couple of weeks away couldn’t they just come back another day some time between now and then?
Eddie Van Halen has succumbed to throat cancer, which had been suffering with for some time. It’s a while since I played any Van Halen, but tonight’s the time to change that.
Year: 2020 Director: Dean Parisot
*Mild Spoilers ahead*
Anyone who rejoices in youth, optimism and companionship will feel a warm glow when they remember the triumphant final scene of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, in which the two teenage Californian slackers, with the aid of persons of historical significance gathered from all ages, triumph in their history report and and are hence able to stay together so that Wyld Stallyns can create the music which will unite mankind. It’s one of the most joyous scenes in film, guaranteed to leave the hardest bitten cynic with a wide grin. The second film, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, in which robot doppelgängers are sent to thwart their future, had its moments but lacked the first film’s charm, as well as its uplifting final scene.
Now Bill and Ted are back, as middle aged losers, still married to the medieval princesses from the first film and with a daughter apiece. Bill S Preston’s daughter is called Theodora, and Ted Theodore Logan’s daughter is called Billie. Age has not been kind to Wyld Stallyns. They start the film playing the latest wedding of Missie, Bill’s step mother in the first film, Ted’s in the » Continue Reading.
Another working week done, so I switched off the laptop, went for a walk, and returned to exactly the same room I’ve been working in every work day since late March.
For those of us working from home, how is it working out for you, especially if it was a significant change from your previous routine? From my point of view the huge, and frankly unexpected, success of the remote working experiment which was forced upon us has been one of the few good things to come from the Covid crisis. It seems odd then that in recent weeks the message from central government has been to get ‘back’ to work in the office, as if those of us in this position hadn’t been working just because we are not all in the same building.
It was pointed out that jobs which can be done remotely can be exported overseas. I dare say they can, but now it has been demonstrated that the jobs can be done remotely there is nothing magical about ‘the office’ which will put that genie back in the box. Jeremy Hunt said that people need the ‘fizz and excitement’ of the office, and that » Continue Reading.
Awful news breaking that Diana Rigg has died. Younger people will remember her from Game of Thrones or The Detectorists, and she was said to be an extraordinarily charismatic stage actress, but I will of course be in mourning for Mrs Peel.
I saw her at the National Film Theatre a couple of years ago for Q+A to mark 50 years of The Avengers and she was wonderful. Although she was in pain from a bad knee (daughter Rachael Stirling had to help her to the stage) she was full of life and gossip.
I may watch Theatre of Blood tonight. Diana spoke about that at the NFT and described how she played matchmaker for Vincent Price (‘I loved Vincent, but he was meaner than mouseshit.’) and Coral Browne (‘I don’t want much at my time in life dear, but I don’t half fancy that Vincent Price.’).
Some terribly sad news. Long standing Afterworder and Word stalwart before that Phil Pirrip has passed away. His wife posted the following message on his Twitter feed ( @Phil_Pirrip ) :
This is Lucy (Pollewolledoodl) sad news I’m afraid my lovely husband passed away on 22 June (not) covid. He was 58, on the 19th he’d gone out for a walk and was found by a member of the public who started CPR helicoptered to hospital and unfortunately never regained consciousness.
Mark Lewisohn has posted on Twitter that Astrid Kirchherr has died, shortly before her 82nd birthday. Her involvement with The Beatles came years before I was born, but even as a kid I realised they would never look as cool again as in those early shots in Hamburg. Anyone who has read Lewisohn’s Tune In will realise what an important introduction she was to European culture. Great haircuts too.
Quick heads up – The Man Who Fell to Earth is on Talking Pictures TV at 9pm tonight, that’s Freeview Channel 81. I don’t think I’ve seen it for more than 30 years, and even then remember finding it ‘of it’s time’ but I’ll set the recorder for it.
One minute it’s all dwarves with platters of cocaine strapped to their heads*, next you’re shredding your glutes ‘to shreds in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening’. Yes, Brian May, shunner of barbers, doctor of stars and friend to the badger, is currently indisposed, and sadly in what sounds like considerable pain, following a bizarre gardening accident.
Bad Bottomed Girls, Another One Digs the Dust, etc etc … you know what to do to fill up a long weekend.
*Incidentally, I had never read the full details of *that* party before and I’ll put a link in the comments. It sounds like quite the social gathering, and certainly a lot more fun than gardening.
That retched virus again. The Stranglers were a big band of my youth and Greenfield’s Doorsy keyboards were a huge part of the appeal. I’ll be sure to dig some out tonight.
Morning all. If you’re struggling for a way to remember which particular Groundhog Day this is it might help to remember it as ‘the one that started with Beth Gibbons chilling my blood with her section of the Big Read’s Ancient Mariner project’.
… it’s quite, ah, ‘forceful’, isn’t it?
This might raise a smile if you have twelve minutes to spare.
What does it sound like?:
I do love The Unthanks. I saw them on many occasions with the ten piece band, various times with smaller outfits, once with a full orchestra for backing and then, last spring at Union Chapel in Islington, I saw Rachel Unthank, Becky Unthank and Niopha Keegan still the very air around us and hold the lucky several hundred present with nothing but their unaccompanied voices and not even a clog dance to add percussion.
That Union Chapel show is one of several from the Unaccompanied As We Are tour which has contributed performances on this latest addition to the Unthanks’ Diversions albums series. Previous Diversions releases have gathered songs by theme or songwriter, but this collection is grouped by style, songs in the style in which Rachel Becky started performing in Northumberland folk clubs. It is utterly lovely.
In the years before this tour there was a danger that The Unthanks could turn into the Adrian McNally band. Adrian, musical arranger and former Mr Rachel Unthank, creates brilliant music culminating in Mount the Air, for me one of the very best albums so far this century, but his influence began to overshadow the pure » Continue Reading.