no payola in his alphabetical file…

Today the unthought, unconsidered and unconscionable happened. I heard the Clash on classic rock radio. The home of the 92 minute rock block.

Unusually for me I was listening to the radio, mainly because I was in the garages loaner car as they fixed the great folly of a Jeep Wrangler that I drive. As I picked up the key in the shop Gordie the mechanic smirked and when I asked which car said to look for the white toaster in the parking lot. So for the last couple of days I have driven around town in a white Scion toaster, this gutless wonder with no redeeming features has garnered me ridicule and disdain and occasionally sympathy from passersby, coworkers and clients.

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Realistically it’s a vehicle. It works it gets me from point A to point B, it also has no auxiliary plug in or bluetooth,  so I am forced to listen to the radio. This is why this afternoon as I drove home I was forced to listen to Janie Jones playing on this awful stereo system in a car that has no soul on Classic Rock radio. All punk rock sensibilities are gone, no edginess at all and to top it off the next track was AC/DC, which is okay but this is like mixing oil and water. The other problem is it seems that whoever drove it before had programmed every space on the radio with the classic rock station and I was too frustrated to figure out how to change it.

So in the face of a failed impeachment, Brexit starting tomorrow, climate change and the rise of nationalism and fascism and the apparent decline of globalism, it is this first world problem that has caused me the most heartache today.

the problem is all inside your head…

My Dad taught me to iron.

It’s a very particular manner of ironing though.

What you have to maybe understand is that my Dad had worn a uniform of some variety for his entire working life. Whether that was overalls on the railway or the very brief of time he worked at Fords in Halewood, so he could raise enough money for a house downpayment. He was also a post man driving that strange thing in the way of a Morris Minor Mail Van. Looking something like this. Sometimes he would take me with him around the back lanes delivering parcels. Now those back lanes are Kirkby and other housing developments. We would stop and get eggs and milk and bread and vegetables from various farms along the way.


He claimed this was the best job he ever had although it never earned enough money as there was no over time. It was almost idyllic for a man from Scotland Rd. in Liverpool and he often wondered at only being a few miles from the center of town. Kirkby was in the later stages of being developed at the time and his parents had begun the move out there, with a certain amount fo rancor as they had held on in the city for as long as they could. His fathers ill health and lack of ability to work had pushed the issue. Being on the post allowed him to drop things off for his family, there was no GPS or planned routes and it took as long as it took to get parcels out.

He ended up driving busses and being an inspector, back in the day when those existed, in St. Helens. At the point when he was finally going to be able to get off the road he got sick and had to retire, he was only about 45 and he never worked for pay again. Although he never stopped working.

The common denominator as I said was a uniform and at that time in the Uk what went along with a uniform was usually a white shirt and a tie, yes even in those overalls.

Every day a new shirt had to ironed as this was physical work he did, no real power steering in those days, and in the summer it was warm and well, sweat happens. My dad developed a particular way of ironing that was just the collar and the front of the shirt as the rest was hidden by the uniform jacket and if you had to take it off you would roll your sleeves up. What this meant was when he came to teach me to iron, he taught me this way of doing it, as that was the method he used, my Mum is not someone to teach you to iron, she would just take the shirt and do it for you.

This morning as I ironed my shirt for work I realized that I still ironed this way, neglecting the back of the shirt and the sleeves. This has driven Michelle crazy for about thirty years now and yet she never offers to iron for me, we really come from a do it yourself family. The other thing I realized was that I have never done a days manual labor for pay, this was something that was important to my dad. Now I have done a lot of manual labor voluntarily and even at work I have been known to roll up my sleeves, this afternoon I was stood on a roof cleaning gutters, this however is not my roll, it’s something I do because it’s fun to work that way with kids, not because that is what I have to do. This was my Dads greatest hope that I would not have to work as hard as he did. The funny thing is two thirds of my kids are doing manual work by choice, go figure.

This evening as I sat at the end of the day and reached for a record to play I was seeking something undemanding and enjoyable. Uncharacteristically for my recent habits I reached for Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon. My Dad had been on my mind and this was one of the records I remember him owning, he got it new from the Columbia House Record Club and it sat on the stereo shelf and was played very occasionally. This was probably the record of the month he got by mistake and he never sent back, or missed the deadline more likely.


I always think the record sounds like Simon had lost the thread a little. It’s too polished and safe, a little too L.A. and then there is the return of Garfunkel for the song My Little Town that adds a saccharine sheen.

But this evening I could see my Dad sat there trying to get it, he had loved Simon and Garfunkel and it seemed he really wanted to like this album especially as he owned it. I can smell the scent of Golden Virginia tobacco, sweat and the gravy from dinner. My dad would usually nod off about half way through side two. We would then sit in silence as in no way could I play an album on the  sacred stereo and my mum would have wanted to let him rest as he had probably worked overtime and not do anything too loud like turn the T.V. on. I think this stopped him buying other Paul Simon albums.

Careful Eugene…

Sometimes late at night I am haunted by a scream.

Its piercing and strident and foreboding. There is much noodling going on and whispering and guitars and drums meandering all over the place, there are even some ooooh’s and aaaah’s.

To be frank it’s kind of heavy man.

I today came to the conclusion that right now and for the duration of about 5-8 minutes, depending on the version I choose Careful With That Axe Eugene is my all time favorite Floyd track. I particularly like the way on Relics it almost fades into Cirrus Minor.

Careful With That Axe Eugene appears to have as many names as there are versions, Murdersitic/Murderotic Women, Come iN No.51 you time is up and on and on, the live versions when Waters lets loose the scream are the better ones, take Brighton in 1972 fearsome. It also demonstrates how brave and different Floyd were before they became prisoners to their own legend and bloated themselves out of relevance with a cocaine fueled argument that has rambled on for decades. Careful  With That Axe Eugene is a band experimenting, jamming, improvising pushing their own boundaries and the audiences. It left the set around 1973 and I don’t think it ever returned, once the corporate monster took charge this type of pushing of limits became seemingly something to alienate and audience rather than attract one.

Of course all that is pretentious B.S. just take the time to lose yourself in the scream.



The other week and only joking…

It’s a tale as old as rock and roll, a tale of exploitation, sex drugs and rock and roll.

Throw a big party at which the acid is flowing, plug in some instruments invite a bunch of underpaid and underfed musicians, feed them and then record the resulting  jam session. Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser managed to get five albums in  worth of music out of it all in one year before Klaus Schulze got pissed off enough to sue him.

Cosmic Jokers  is almost exactly what you would expect, in habitant a space somewhere between early Pink Floyd and the mellower moments of Hawkwind. It’s good to see that not all acid jams result in endless nodding and navel gazing. I have an image in my head of oh so fashionable blonde Teutons sitting around cooler than cool and barley managing to hold the noodles in their head from leaking out of their ears as the acid hits.

Let’s also remember that this has one of the all time classic album covers. How cool is that 50’s sci-fi album sleeve with the German rockets launching into the future on waves of lysergic music.


If the cover wasn’t enough it had Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttschling, Dieter Dierks, Harals Grobkopf and Jurgen Dollase. The very exotic nature of these names is enough to testify that this is music that you should listen to.

This weeks listening in pictures, none of which are very interesting, I have been meaning to work on my photography skills for years now and time and again don’t bother.

explain it all with a sigh…

In the midst of the punk rock revolution of 1977 the beloved Moody Blues decided to release an album of a concert from back in the dinosaur era for most punk rockers of 1969. This either shows that Justin and the boys were just totally unaware of what was going on around them or they just wanted to show that relevance is fleeting and while in the mid 70’s they may have been considered a bloated irrelevancy, in the 60’s they were cutting edge experimental and probably took more drugs.

I am going with the second reason as I like to give the Moody’s the benefit of the doubt.

I had no idea until I found this record that this was a 1969 recording, thats because my copy was on a C-90 cassette recorded for me by cousin Tony. My cassette did not even have a track listing included so I actually never knew the real names of some of the songs.  I may have actually been responsible for the death of recorded music with the amount of home taping I was involved in. This was the only Moody Blues album I had and that was only because of Justin Hayward’s involvement in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Now I have quite a lot because they turn up in thrift stores a lot, seems they were a popular beat group.

Side 3. is the killer side with Nights In White Satin and Legend of a Mind.

It’s one of the worst album covers ever in my opinion, Hipgnosis really dropped the ball or they were taking the piss, maybe it was all the cocaine from their work with Floyd.

I am going to have to listen to that Cluster album again now, well maybe tomorrow.


people get what they deserve…

I just had to take a seat realizing Eye by Robyn Hitchcock is 30 years old this year. This may be more life altering than realizing I am 54 and several pounds overweight. My rebellious years are apparently history.

So what are the vestiges of my younger life that are still relevant to my current life? Converse shoes, DM’s, apparently grey sweatshirts, live concerts, I drive a ridiculous car, sitting still and listening to records, reading real books, a love of thermos flasks, flannel shirts, Levi 501’s, loud music, the blonde asleep next to me, sometimes she’s awake, impulsive buys and walks in the rain. Of course some of those things are not so relevant really they just still are.

This is the second time I have rambled on about this album, oh how the memory fades.

So what does Eye have to offer late at night to these aged and aging ears? It is a fine collection of songs, all acoustic. It doesn’t rely so much on humor as some other Hitchcock releases which is surprising and pleasant. It’s a fine album in other words by studied eccentric Hitchcock. The vocals are a bit in your face though.


All of this came about as I bought tickets for his show in Portland, all I have to do now is figure out parking, this is a thing that has changed, in the past this would have been an irrelevancy as I plotted the excesses of the evening. Currently the only thing I am considering is where to park and what should we eat on the evening. In the past it would have been which bars to hit beforehand and gauging how well to stay just enough in control not to get thrown out of the venue.

Oh how we have all aged.


This week, it gets different from here on in…

So this has been what I have been up to listening wise this week, I don’t necessarily have much to say other than I should maybe have more to say about some of them. I think I managed to cover a reasonable range of musical styles with enough clashes to cause the people who share my house enough head shakes and worried expressions, or maybe that was just the Cluster  or Brainticket albums.

I am taking my time with the Kate Bush, I am a little afraid of the Elton John covers on one of those records but I couldn’t resist buying the collection as it sat on the shelf in Barnes and Noble . That Barnes and Noble 50 percent off sale could have been problematic if I had more ready cash on hand.


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