I don’t want to be one wave in the water…

So I got to the beach a day before everyone else and there I was walking on the sand as sunset was getting close. I was strolling along and all I could think about was a Plague of Lighthouse Keepers by Van Der Graaf Generator as I approached the mournful lighthouse disappearing into the mist.

It would have made sense if I had taken a picture of the lighthouse but it was too far away and misty so here are some pretty rocks.


It was truly beautiful as I strolled and thought about that song, I have to admit I am not that familiar with it so couldn’t really figure it out and I had deliberately left the headphones at the house to enjoy the sound of the beach. Sometimes there can really be too much noise in your head or at least your ears for your own good.

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I had walked about 5 miles along this long beach when I noticed this was happening. I looked around and realized I was a long way from where I should be. I had also not taken note of any landmarks, that would make sense in the dark. Immediately I panicked, I was convinced I was going to die here on this idyllic Oregon beach. Or be captured by natives and perhaps forced to drink micro-brews and eat organic produce. At some point some person would discover my phone next to a stew pot and look at the last picture. So here is what it would have been if that had happened.

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About this time I figured I should turn around and walk back or I would never hear a Plague of Lighthouse Keepers. It’s a monster of a track by the way, probably way too overindulgent but that can be fun.

I was helped back by my neighbor who I recognized with his camera and tripod on the beach as I ambled back in the near dark.


Coastal living. 

Been at the beach with work.

This was my view every morning and then I stopped at a record store on the way home!

Now my knees hurt.

As an additional piece of information and to answer Mr 1537.

I do not build sandcastles for a living.


It was a Dam.

Most of the Time

The thing about being a child of the late 70s and 80s is that the perception is there was no good music. The sixties had the revolution of music, the 70’s had the excesses of rock and then the purge of punk. The eighties according to most writers had post punk and little else of note. How sad to be defined as after something else, of course we brought this upon ourselves with New Romantics, awful synths and gated drums. The decade fashion forgot etc. the slurs go on and on. Forever defined musically as the moment between punk and grunge that had no redeeming features. Well as one who lived through the rejected decade I have to say there was some good in there, yes you had to search between Wham and Duran Duran but it was there honest.

I remember a summer spent on the LLeyn Peninsula in North Wales, all I had for company was a copy of Pink Floyd’s the Wall, Rumours  and Live by Fleetwood Mac and every science fiction novel they had for sale in small gift shops at the beach. It was a heavenly summer, the one that stands in my mind as perfect.Llyn peninsula Two weeks in a small cottage in Wales, with no worries, I think it was the year before O. Levels so it was relatively stress free, the next year I was waiting for O. Level results, it rained continuously and the house felt like the walls were closing in. That was the year we went home early, never to go back to that house.

Back to 1981, Ghost Town by the Specials on the radio everywhere we went, that and I Don’t Like Monday’s by the Boom Town Rats which was the song most often played on the pub juke box my parents dragged me to some evenings. All the girls seemed to be wearing yellow that year and have Stevie Nick’s hair. Sat on the beach I read Philip K. Dick, Clarke, Heinlein and as much Moorcock as I could find, I swam in the cold Irish Sea, snorkeled around the crusted rocks and sank the stupid canoe, climbed on cliff faces, fished with my Dad and learned how to cook crab. It was that idyllic summer that in a Stephen King novel would have turned to terror but in reality was just a wonderful lazy summer that you forever try to reach again. I don’t think my parents ever realized what they gave me although I have tried to tell them.

Which all has nothing to do with the music of the eighties in the end apart from to say those albums are etched in my mind as the soundtrack to my youth. In 1982 I went to Cropredy and then other festivals throughout the decade. I was introduced to Richard Thompson’s music and discovered a more roots based music than my contemporaries were listening too. I also became a pretentious ass, preferring the Barrett Floyd to the Gilmour/Waters version which meant I had to listen to the Dark Side of the Moon and Animals in the closet.

The music I remember from that era now is Julian Cope, the Teardrop Explodes, the Icicle Works and Waterboys and also Robyn Hitchcock. I still return to that music even now. I also have a fondness for Here and Now who seemed to be on every festival stage passing the hat around.  My wife was very much in the Benatar, Idol, Journey and Foreigner camp. I remember listening and on strange occasions dancing to it in smoky Liverpool clubs but have to admit I don’t return to it. The biggest musical constants in my life though had to Fairport Convention and Hawkwind. I always seemed to be going to a Hawkwind gig or planning for the next and saving for Cropredy, or going to the seemingly endless tours a band that had split up constantly was on.

It could be a little odd at times to watch your peers succumbing to the synth pop agenda, of course now I can enjoy Depeche Mode and Ultravox along with Japan and the others but at the time it was anathema. So I ended up spending time looking for those lost gems of the 70’s and 60’s and actually becoming more pretentious than my lip stick wearing contemporaries, it also meant I missed out on the Jam, Elvis Costello and other joys through having my head so far up my own behind. I did allow myself as mentioned earlier to enjoy some contemporary music but it had to be performed by relative failures, if it was on top of the pops it sucked if it was on the Tube it was cool etc.

Anyway here is the mix of what I was allowing people to know what I was listening to during that weird strange period. As I made this I realized that with the exception of Hitchcock and the Icicle Works I discovered most of the other music of the eighties once the period was over. I guess I was more pretentious than I realized, although that may be the reason for a blog at the end of the day.

The mix:  https://anonfiles.com/file/fb2b53d006e85fdf82774ffedb437222



Some Special Place

A few years ago we were driving through campsites on the coast looking for future places to camp. We passed through the Sutton Creek campsite but most of it was closed, the campsite was pretty standard fare with a fire ring and trees for shade but it backed up to a creek that meandered through the dunes to the coast, the landscape called out to be explored. We were all going to go and do this but over the years the usual things got in the way as they usually do, this weekend however Michelle had her thing at the beach with her friends, the two older boys could not be convinced to come but Ben was excited and Ziggy is up for anything anytime so we set out for the coast hoping to get a site at this now legendary, in my mind at least, place.

The drive was the usual three hours or so to the central coast. We were mingled in with the ATV’s on the way to Florence to perform daring deeds on the dunes, our mission was a little quieter though. Initially there was some concern we would not get a site at our chosen campground as they all appeared full. Eventually however we managed to get ourselves situated and only had to move once to a sunnier spot.

The plan on Friday was to just get settled and go for a short hike to see what was around. We found an old rope swing and Ben had a good time playing Tarzan, although in his normal cautious way he was worried that he would not be able to support his own weight, of course he could and once he had some confidence was swinging like a champ. The a walk with Ziggy, dinner and bed after important supplies like popcorn and ‘smores makings were bought. Popcorn was made on the fire and we settled down after a successful day.

Saturday turned out to be one of those days you seem to only get at the coast. The weather was beautiful, a clear sunny day. Ben insisted that we drive with the top down on the jeep. This was a little concerning for Ziggy who seemed intimidated by the whole process. But on to the big adventure fording creeks and discovery. First we went downstream. Ziggy was alright with the relatively shallow                               water this way. He was extra alright with soccer on the beach once we had crossed the raging torrent and hiked through the sand dunes to the ocean. He really will do anything for a ball that dog.

As I discovered in England with Tom spending time with each of my three boys alone is very special. They truly are wonderful intelligent, caring and compassionate boys. I am very proud of all of them.

Of course once you have gone downstream you have to go back upstream. It’s inevitable as is falling in it seems when you are twelve. Of course this is also a time to discover that the dog is afraid of water that goes up to his chest. Ben must have hiked the best part of two miles up the creek trying to find the way  back to our campsite. Eventually we had to turn around and head back because it was getting harder for Ziggy to walk on the banks as they became more overgrown and he doesn’t seem to know how to doggy paddle. Back at camp food was eaten and a fire was made. This was more successful a conflagration than the night before.  Ben noticed the waffle iron, so of course we had to go get waffle mix for the morning and then a game of Uno at which Ben soundly thrashed me.

Breakfast was awesome,nothing like waffles made on an open fire. OK we cheated it was premade waffle mix but they were good. The dog even managed to get the leftovers as we had not brought enough dog food.

All that was left was to pack up and get ready to head off home, Ben decided we should drive north though as he did not ever remember driving north. So we headed for the Tillamook Cheese Factory for cheese curds and ice cream, not in the same bowl of course.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend with much fun and it was definitely a special time with a truly wonderful and special boy. I am however sure Ben was cheating at Uno though as it seems unlikely he should win three games in a row. Ziggy was well and truly tired by the end and slept most of the way home in the car.


Robert’s bookstore in Lincoln city on the Oregon coast is exactly what a bookstore should be. Claustrophobic low lighting and books everywhere. So many books that they are often in piles in front of the shelves, piles on top of the shelves and collapsing towers of books everywhere.

It is a treasure trove with artwork about books, prints of book covers with the book attached. Cartoons and comic books in the corners and a dark corner of dvd’s by the bathroom.

We spent two hours In there and in a fit of self restraint I only bought two books. One an Eternal Champion omnibus by Michael Moorcock and another Moorcock of The Rituals of Infinity. There were other books but I did not have my list with me and my memory is failing it seems but I will be back.