Tuesday, 26 December 2006

A classical present

It's boxing day today and the first one of this new blog of mine so I thought I'd mention something I had this year for Christmas.

When I was twelve I remember listening to a radio program that played short pieces of classical music in the early evening which tied in well with when we had a family evening meal when I was home or just after early evening when at boarding school and they played quiet a bit of Boccherini's music.
It wasn't just such staples as the G275 Minuet  but also his cello works and this Christmas I got the complete set of all twelve of his Cello Concertos that the budget cd label Naxos had put out from 1999 include the third volume that came out just two years ago.
Having played them today on my stereo, I have to say I really love these performances which just feel right, lively but not to 'wirey' and are very well recorded.
This disc of four of his Quartets including the infamous Minuet from Op 13/5 G275 is one disc I bought in the early days of compact disc when this labels pioneering use of PCM digital recording was more appreciated and their discs were more widely stocked at places like the local branch of Richer Sounds as well as mainstream record shops with decent classical stocks.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Christmas 2006

Wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006


Memories, eh?
Lots of of us have them form the time we were born to our current time not forgetting those memories from the past that are passed down through the generations but this whole subject has often intrigued me
For instance you may know of friends may be friends from your school days who when asked what they thought about those time might give you an account of how good they were or others who seem to have scarcely a good word to say about them but in each instance you feel a little uneasy.
Maybe that's because you remember stuff that happened that both of these two don't and when you add it to their accounts you might feel it alters the narrative you get from both regarding how they feel it shaped them.
Perhaps that's one function of memories. A Justification for who we are today?
But there's this other function we touched on, the passing down of factual knowledge about our pasts, that of our families, the communities and sometimes the countries they have lived in.
These maybe the order of family members -the "Family Tree", what they did and why as well as what happened where we lived and why it mattered. For instance a Saxon Cross near me was destroyed by people who thought it represented a form of Idol Worship and it's significance having been restored is to act as a reminder of the dangers of extreme ideology. Some counties such as the one I'm presently living in Great Britain have a lot of history -some of it bloody - and it doesn't take a lot of studying to see how that shaped their society.
So you see memories are important for us as people personally as well as societies but need to ensure they're as complete as possible to draw the best knowledge and wisdom from them.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006


It's cold and snowing outside so I've been raiding the thick sweaters and sweatshirts here in a do or die attempt to stay warm with the temperatures outside being minus 3 degrees C and below together with the thick tights and over the knee socks.
You all know I just love the cute and sexy but really this isn't the best time of year for exposing your skin so I'm afraid the thick track pants have had to come out together with boots with decent soles on for improved grip.
I even found myself doing exercises whilst waiting for the bus to stay warm!!!

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Big Dango Family

This song translated as "Big Dumpling Family" appears at the end of each eposide of the anime Clannad and I feel isn't just very Kawaii but does capture the feel of what a family is.

Dango, dango, dango, dango, dango daikazoku

Dango, dango, dango, dango, dango, Big Dango Family

Yancha na yaki dango yasashii an dango

A mischievous roasted dango, a kind sweet bean dango

Minna, Minna, awasete hyakunin kazoku

Gather them all up and it’s a family of a hundred

Akachan dango ha itsumo shiawase no naka de

A baby dango is always cradled in happiness

Toshiyori dango ha me wo hosometeru

An old dango gazes with squinty eyes

Nakayoshi dango te wo tsunagi ookina marui wa ni naruyo

The dango friends will all hold hands and form a big circle

Machi wo tsukuri dango boshi no ue minna de warai auyo

They’ll found a village on a dango planet and all smile together

Usagi mo sora de te wo futte miteru dekkai otsuki-sama

The rabbits are waving their hands from the big moon

Ureshii koto kanashii koto mo zenbu marumete

Roll up all the happy and sad things…

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Run, Caro, Run

As we get very much in that twilight period of late Fall toward Christmas my thoughts happen to be elsewhere not least with that business I talked about  two month ago as I'm working toward a phased return to duties that should see me formally hand over the reigns so I can leave the authority in dignified professional way even though how I had been treated by members that lead to this was anything but.
I keep thinking about my first love when it comes to school games, Rounders, as I'm slowly recovering as while with my disabilities being able to bat and run wasn't easy I enjoyed taking part, encouraged in it by people that were prepared to stand up for me.
I have now a PE skirt and top that I wear on warmer days although what I'd truly love to do is find a Rounders club where I could play not on league basis but just for the company and exercise.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

All Saints Day

All Saints Day 2006

All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows' Day or Hallowmas) is the day after All Hallows' Eve (Halloween). It is a feast day celebrated on November 1st by Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
It is an opportunity for followers to remember all saints and martyrs throughout Christian history. As part of this day of obligation, followers are required to attend church and try not to do any servile work.
Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but until 609AD when Pope Boniface IV designated May 13th to remember all martyrs was there a designated day.
Over 200 years later, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV extended the festival to remember all the saints and set November 1st as the date.
All Souls' Day directly follows All Saints' Day and is an opportunity for Anglicans and Roman Catholics to commemorate the faithful departed.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Corrine Bailey Rae says "Put Your Records On"

I've had this cd for a fair while since its release in  February following the lead off single Like A Star came out in special four track edition last October which ignited a lot of interest in the musical press and caught my ears as someone who unapologetically  prefers soul music coming from a more traditional direction rather than what sounds more like watered down hip-hop with harmonies on top we've been having since the nineties.
This Yorkshire singer has a most amazing voice.
What really did for it for me was the second single Put Your Records On released at the same time as the album itself that just that vibe right down which lead to the album peaking at #2 in the UK albums chart and amazingly #4 in the US.
Trouble Sleeping was released over here as a single in May.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Food we love

Cupcakes known in the UK as Fairy Cakes are something of a childhood like of mine from when I made them both with my Gran and also at school plus obviously enjoying eating them hugely.
I am fortunate we have small independent cake shops here together with lots of groups who home bake for various charities on collection days in town. 

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Plaid adventures

I can't speak for everyone but I did love looking through Mom's stuff when I was younger with more of the idea of picturing myself a little older perhaps, thinking what would I really want to wear as I wasn't particularly fashion conscious to be honest.
I mean when you struggle to dress yourself things such as ease of wearing, not having to rezip or button up and so on take a bigger priority plus when I was growing there wasn't much talked about disability fashion.

Around the age of fourteen, then I noticed Mom had a tartan plaid skirt not a million miles removed from this, proper Scottish made and that that when I get away with it I'd 'borrow' to wear not least as it was just that further on from more formal schoolwear but not too 'fussy' but smart.
I like to look smart when I'm not really lounging about and I've always felt things like this are really more me than what a lot of fashion places stock.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Going back

I have been very unwell for a period in connection with my role in a local authority for a period now and I have what is called 'Leave of absence' which means I need not attend any meetings although I will be kept up to date with anything important which given my role is  the next most important after the Clerk obviously does matter.
Put very simply I am going through a nervous breakdown, throwing things, walking pensively for ages ready to explode or bursting in tears crying for ages not just at home but at work who are trying to help me. I simply cannot cope with what I have been left to do, working all hours even losing part of my vacation to council business doing things others want but won't do themselves.

I feel I have hit the end of the road at least in so far as anything beyond work and family responsibility goes and more over it seems to me at least this attempt at trying to be more of a public grown up figure when in all honesty I'm more childlike.
Back then I knew very much who I was, what I was to do with support which to be frank I don't get anymore although I need it and there was a clear cut break between school time and free time.
While talking by email with the clerk, I decided to take a step backwards from now on and outside of work I'm going draw up a timetable like I had at school and ensure time outside of it won't be spent chained to the telephone and computer.
I have also decided to put together a school type uniform to wear when I'm not working, being at home as the kind of structure, routines and discipline of that era is what I badly need and this with more support from my folks is what I do need.
I just cannot cope with full on adult life.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Beatles Capitol Albums on cd

I remember when I first got this as it was a Christmas present in 2004 from my folks.
Capitol Albums Volume One was a box set containing four original US albums complete with a booklet and were given first class mastering by Ted Jensen. Each disc contains the stereo and mono version of each album in individual cardboard sleeves.

Meet the albums:

Meet The Beatles!

The Beatles' Second Album

Something New

Beatles '65.

Link: Amazon.com: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1: Music: The Beatles

Meet The Beatles is With (or for Canadians Beatlemania with...) The Beatles for Americans featuring All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Second Album features the only instance of Thank You Girl in stereo and exclusive US stereo mixes of I Call Your Name and Long Tall Sally.
Something New features many of the songs from the UK album A Hard Day's Night but for contractual reasons at the time does not include A Hard Day's Night and Can't Buy Me Love that can be found in stereo on the 1962-1966 (Red) compilation.
Beatles '65 can be regarded in many ways as the Beatles For Sale album for North Americans taking in I'm A Loser, Honey Don't, I'll Follow The Sun and I Feel Fine.

Until the recent remasters this was the only means of getting the earlier material in Stereo and it is hard to beat the two volumes of the box set, The Capitol Albums Volumes One and Two for the spread. Even now following the UK series of remasters (9/2009) the sets hold up for the different recorded versions and indeed some even feel the transfer of the program on A Hard Day's Night (stereo) isn't quite as good as Something New.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2006 and Volume Two came out containing these albums:

Beatles VI

Help! Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Early Beatles

Rubber Soul:

Amazon.com: The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 (Longbox): Music: The Beatles

Starting with The Early Years, this comprises of 11 of the 14 tracks from the UK Please Please Me album some tracks such as Twist and Shout were rebalanced compared to the UK versions.

The track I Saw Her Standing There being the 'B' side of the (US) single I Want To Hold Your Hand is on Meet The Beatles. Misery and There's A Place were not issued on a Capitol album in the US until 1980's Rarities.

Beatles VI is a fine selection draw from the Beatles For Sale and Help sessions taking in the #1 smash 45 Eight Days A Week, Dizzy Miss Lizzie and the Buddy Holly cover Words Of Love.

Help! Is actually the Soundtrack album with the seven film songs plus Ken Thorne's instrumentals featured in the film.

The current UK CD of this title was extensively re-mixed by George Martin OBE and has digital echo as well where this issue is his original 1965 mix which most of us grew up with.

Rubber Soul:

This was the first album issued in the US to bear the same title as it's UK counterpart but is different in that It kicks of with I've Just Seen A Face and also features It's Only Love which came out in the UK on the Help! Album.

The US version has more of a folk-rock feel to it and is actually preferred in some circles to the UK for that.

As with Help the UK current CD was remixed but this goes back to the original mixes and from that point of view is valuable even if you keep your UK CD for Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, What Goes On and If I Needed Someone as they were not issued on the US version.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Adding to my classical cd collection

One of my interests crosses over to a means of relaxing and indeed regression and that is music, specifically classical music and as I approach the twentieth anniversary of our first cd player there's two discs I bought recently.

While I have long term plans for my collection, the music of Brahms has figured, not so much as Mozart or Beethoven and whatever may come of my discs of his symphonies at some point, his piano music interests me more for now not least in piano lead chamber music.

These two discs recorded in 1971 and 1980 respectively and carefully remastered from analogue tape are amongst the very best of these core chamber music works and in the case of the Quartet often borrowed on cassette form from the local library that they are a part of my past musical experience that makes now owning them in cd form a joy for the performances have staying power.

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Last minute rush

This time of year certain British stores tend to be busy such as BHS, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and that very british institution, the school uniform shop  because after next week Autumn term starts at most schools and this brings with it last minute uniform replacements and checking everything fits.

We always had are skirt lengths measured so they were not too short as that would break school rules and reflect badly upon our folks. It may of seemed awkward but I'm they cared to ensure we were decent and properly presentable.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Nick Heywood

Hi fans,

I thought I'd set up a page dedicated to the great and badly under appreciated English singer-songwriter Nick Heywood.
Nick hales from Kent, England was the original lead vocalist of Haircut 100.

The group comprised of Nick, Les Nemes (Bass),Graham Jones (Guitar), Memphis Blair Cunningham (Drums), Phil Smith (Sax) and Mark Fox (Percussion).

The group become known not only for their new wave style but for their preppie outfits.
In 1981, the group released the single Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) which reached No4 in the UK charts, followed up with Love Plus One which reached No3 in January of 1982.

Early in this year they released the 80's classic album Pelican West, which peaked at No2 and remained on chart for 34 weeks.

They released two more singles in 1982, Fantastic Day and Nobody's Fool both reached no9 in the UK charts.

At was shortly after the release of Nobody's Fool that Nick decided to leave the group for a solo career.

Haircut One Hundred

Nick Hayward solo career.

In contrast to the style of Haircut 100, Nicks solo music quickly revealed a more mature adult style which was evident from his first solo single, Whistle Down The Wind, which reached no13 in the UK charts.

The follow up single, Take That Situation, proved to be his biggest selling to date and reached No 11 and stayed on the UK charts for 10 weeks.

He issued the classic North of A Miracle album in the fall of 1983 which was successful reaching no 10 in the UK charts but this was to be his only charting UK album.

The final single from this album, Blue Hat For a Blue Day was his last UK top 20 hit.

He issued the singles Warning Sign and Love All Day which peaked at numbers 25 and 31 respectively in 1984.

In 1986 the album Postcards From Home as issued and the tracks Over The Weekend and Goodbye Yesterday were issued as singles but like all his singles released to 1988, they failed to chart.

1988 saw him releasing an album with Warner/Reprise, I Love You Avenue which featured the single You're My World, which is currently very hard to find.

The singles Kite and He Doesn't Love You Like I Do saw him return to the UK singles chart but neither record made the top 40 although they were featured on the album From Monday To Sunday released in 1993 for Epic records.

He attempted a return in 1995 with the track The World which get as far as No47 and Rollerblade (from the Epic album Tangled) in 1996 which got as far as No37.

By 1998 he'd signed to Creation records, the label Brit Poppers of Oasis and The Boo Radleys issuing the album, The Apple Bed.

Unfortunately not withstanding the quality of his 1990's albums they all failed to chart.

Here's a thread from Steve Hoffman Forums where we discussed the man
Nick Heyward and Haircut One Hundred - SH Forums

Like many artists today he has his own website where he discusses his life presently and his music.
I would recommend it to all.

Sunday, 6 August 2006

August fashion musing

It's the height pretty much of the Summer so I've spent quite a bit of my time out of doors rather than being sat by large desktop computer and it's big monitor which to be truthful does sap quite a bit of energy out of me.

I do like to toss off the layers this time of year to say a short sleeve blouse and simple pleated tartan skirts rather like this which is more me, kittenish and young at heart rather than sensible as some like to call it and long.
Like my second best friend at school generally and with much head scratching by the adults in our lives we both preferred just below the knee socks rather than tights finding them less itchy and that's how it's always been with me.
If I'm not in something like this, then it's shorts with cute ankle socks.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

Also spach Zarathustra

Like many, my introduction to this work by Richard Strauss was on the back of 2001: A Space  Odyssey where the introduction was used in the 1968 movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.
I heard a number borrowing from the library, did own the 1979 Riccardo Muti recording on lp and also from my older brother which did own this one that I recently bought in its newly remastered form from the 1974 analogue tapes.
that I'm currently enjoying.
Many put this recording over Herbert von Karajan's later 1984 digital remake with the same orchestra. 

Sunday, 16 July 2006

About my interest in sound reproduction

You might be thinking we have those entries about music but what about your interest in how you listen to it?
When I was younger how you listened, the cultivation of a time to listen intently to it, appreciating took hold not that I didn't have music on as a 'background' but I'd find time to do just that and maybe a quiet room to sit in too.
Also I was interested in how that sound was reproduced caring that although I may of been ten years old, I was getting the best I could get from my recordings be they tapes or as was common then stereo  records. I was fortunate Dad knew a fair bit about electronics and especially audio engineering so even with our modest income I had at that age my very own stereo record player with a built in radio cos he built it for me from modules and made a case from wood. That was better sounding compared to what my friends had.
As I got more into my teens money permitting I bought magazines about what they called "High Fidelity" which when remove a lot of technical terms and snobbery from it is really more about getting the best sound and they had articles about improving what you heard as well as reviews of equipment.
Around the same time I got from grown up friends handed down equipment that while good wasn't as good as what they could now afford was better than what I had so at one point I had a tubed Rogers Cadet II amplifier with it's control unit, a Panasonic stereo cassette deck for recording and playing cassette tapes on , a Goldring turntable and cartridge and a pair of hand made speakers using units originally fitted to Rolls Royce upmarket cars!
Today I own an all Rotel stereo separate system and a Sony MiniDisc recorder with a portable player for listening while away or on the move.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Old but not forgotten - artists we loved

In response to much talk on the Angels forum site and with inspiration from Linzi, here is a page to place links to those artists who may be 'old' but certainly not forgotten.

Linzi mentioned her recollection of seeing Paper Lace on Top of the Pops in 1974, after I mentioned about owning and playing an 8 track tape of theirs featuring the hits, The Black-eyed boys, Billy, Don't Be A Hero and The Night Chicago Died.

Here's the link to a Paper Lace web site: www.sonsandlovers.co.uk./PAPER%20LACE.htm

Anyone of certain age will recall seeing a leather clad gent with an infamous leather glove who had a string of hits in the mid 70's.

Yes, we are talking about the one and only Alvin Stardust responsible for 'Jealous Guy' and 'My Coo-Coo Choo' amongst others. He also starred in a Green Cross Code public information film shown on british television.
Jealous Guy video:
ALVIN STARDUST -jealous mind
The official site: http://www.alvinstardust.com Alvin contributes to it.
A good fan site is http://alexgitlin.com/nnp/as.htm

Mocked by many but loved for the image as well as the music were the Rubettes.
Nobody, repeat nobody around in the summer of '74 forgets 'Sugar Baby Love' quickly - infectious sugar coated pop music with a doo-wop twist. Another staple of Top of the Pops in the 70's.
There is a good CD out 'The Very Best Of The Rubettes' with all the hits and more available.
The have an official website: http://www.rubettes.com but it has shock wave stuff on it so it may take a while - connection permitting - to fully load.

Forgotten by some but keenly remembered by some of us are the Scottish Group Slik which featured a young Midge Ure. They had a number 1 hit with the song Forever And Ever in February 1976 and released an album entitled Slik on Bell Records which featured Dancerama and Requiem, a top twenty single.

Here's some links: http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/slik

For more on Rich Kids who were formed from Slik see http://punkmodpop.free.fr/richkids_pic.htm.

Musically similar to Roxy Music the group Sailor hold a place in the hearts of many of us around in the mid 1970's in the UK. They had smash hit singles with Glass Of Champaign in late 1975 and Girls Girls Girls in early 1976.
Links to the band can be found here http://www.sailor-marinero.com/sailor_main.htm

Although it's Various Artists, the film Flashdance and it's Soundtrack often crops up in conversation about 80's music. Certainly it is an excellent soundtrack album with songs by Georgio Moroder and has the hits 'Manic', 'Lady, Lady, Lady' and the title track (by Irene Cara).
A film database listing information and comments on the film is available http://imdb.com/title/tt0085549/
A fans site outling the films impact on popular culture can be found at:

Another artist very sadly missed since her death in 2004 is Laura Branigan. She had six studio albums showcasing her remarkable voice and featuring both original songs and inspired cover versions.
A new compilation Platinum Collection comes out July 24th featuring the hits, such as Gloria and choice album tracks.
There is beautiful site dedicated to her and her spirit see http://www.laurabraniganonline.com/
Do visit it.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Childhood summer vacation memories

Writing about my vacation a fortnight ago reminded me of two things that I recall from my childhood.  One was the existence of Summer Specials, comics, puzzle books and colouring books that were meant to be on sale and enjoyed by us as children for three to four months that way typically brought while  vacationing.
The British ones you most looked forward to included the Summer Edition of the Beano not least for it was printed on glossy paper unlike the regular newsprint used back then and the Summer Dandy edition, both full of stories about our favourite characters.
The other was camping which we did at school and my folks sometimes did although our cousins vacations were nearly always camping ones.
Tying the two together is this bit of a Minnie The Minx, cartoon strip who was my comic heroine at the time. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Holiday Report

I visited the Snowdonia national park, in Wales recently as I had been experiencing a lot of stress and it was having a serious effect on my mental well-being.
I was greeted by exceptional hot, sunny weather affording superb views of Mount Snowdon and the isolated moorlands surrounding it.
The lambs were all out in the fields young and old some having a chew of the grass, others sheltering in the shade of nearby hedges, walls and trees.
A few had the bright idea of exploring the human domain of the narrow roads and we needed to slow down to allow them to cross back into the fields.
I liked the solitude up there but I’m not sure the idea of being literally miles way from the nearest market town would really do for me which I guess is a reflection of my urban upbringing.
Betws–y-coed is a place I like to stop off at as here are good range of shops and spectacular waterfalls. There are a lot woodlands in the area and I took a lot photos – on my ageing Olympus OM10 of the trees, sometimes lying underneath the branches to get the viewpoint I wished to capture.
Llandudno: It remains a largely unspoilt Victorian seaside resort with excellent shopping facilities. The Theatre is really good and many amateur choral performances are hold during the summer season in local churches. On Tuesday there was a Brass Band concert taking place, appropriately enough, on the Bandstand along the promenade. The players were really good –
I’m no great fan of Brass Bands but the musicianship couldn’t be faulted.
Bangor: I visit here a lot, being a University town with bookshops and some good Pubs that serve meals. There is an excellent record shop on the High Street, Cob Records, whose staffs really know about music. The main store is in Porthmadog – this is a ‘satellite’ store – it has a first rate second hand vinyl department that is well worth rummaging through and stock new vinyl releases too.
www.cobrecordsbangor.com E-mail shop@cobrecordsbangor.com
Phone 01248 353020
Things that didn’t go as they should: I days filming got wasted as a Fuji film become tight and tore whilst rewinding it out of the camera – we came close a to a two inch dent being added to the guest house waste paper bin!!!

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

My first cd player

Twenty years ago around this week I got my first cd player and discs as before than I had been on record and cassettes for convenience.

Yeah, I know that titles a bit Fischer-Price but actually this player a Toshiba XR-J9 'transportable' mains only machine actually was the first I had back in June of 1986. 
You pressed the open button to place the discs on a platter and lowered the lid down causing a puck to grip the disc.
It originally had captive leads for the line out but I had it modified for better sound. The headphone socket is on the front panel with a volume control which was the players Achilles heel as it was prone getting noisy.

To go with that Toshiba player I got this - the very first compact disc I ever bought - from Our Price (RIP).
It's the PolyGram pressed version with on barcode on the rear.
Btw disc number two was a UK Nimbus pressed Pet Shop Boys, Please
On this player you had place the disc on a puke which was gripped and rotated when you shut the lid and pressed Play.

Although a number of physical formats have challenged its role as the digital sound carrier of choice, none has the universal acceptance the cd has.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Eight Tracking in the UK

Eight tracking in the UK
I am currently in the process of repairing an Eight-Track cartridge player from the 1970’s
and have been currently building up a collection of tapes to complement my original collection from the on-line auction site ebay uk.
The picture at the top of this article is of a US eight track cartridge that shows the shape and packaging such tapes came in.
The eight-track was invented in 1965 and was being manufactured in the US until 1989 where it was extremely popular.
It features a continuous loop of tape with four programs spread across 8 tracks (each stereo pair taking up 2 tracks) which are changed automatically by a metal sensing foil or by manually selecting using a button on the player.
Program 1
What’s so good about them? The sound – better high frequencies than pre-recorded cassettes. Also easy to use push in to start, pull out to stop.
Program 2
Who can repair my broken tape?
Kates Track Shack - see your Internet search engine for current link.

They sell replacement pressure pads if the original has crumbled away.
Also see Eight Track Heaven Internet site for details.
Program 3
Where can I get tapes from?
Second hand music shops. Many sellers on E-bay and places like Kates Eight Shack.. On Ebay US here are three great shops - 8 Track Shack
Also Janeen's Music, Sport and History (Great communications) and Olivia's 8 Tracks, Books and Other stuff. Don't forget to work out the postal charges. On Ebay US many retailers have a World-Wide postal charge calculator - do use it. Customs: The UK sharks ignore mail whose value including Post and handling is under £18 for Duty, Customs and the dreaded VAT (See Inland Revenues site for more).
Program 4
At boot fairs and on E-bay you’ll find car and home players being sold.

Update: Firstly it came as shock to me to find my much loved copy of Chicago X (10) which had the smash hit 'If You Leave Me Now' had in the intervening years jammed up (the lubricant in the tape must have dried out). I recently got it repaired by Kates Track Shack - it now plays smoothly -although I'm looking for the US edition to replace it with.
I won the American Eight Track of Supertramp's 'Breakfast in America' which has 'The Logical Song' on it and a copy of Wing's 'London Town' which featured the top ten hit 'With A Little Love' from '78 (own the original UK LP too).

The drive belt had snapped on the auto player and I fixed it by using a thick rubber band - the sort you use for mail.
I won a Akia CR 81D 8 track recorder on Ebay Uk and given it some TLC. The sound is excellent - clear high frequencies and next to no wow and flutter.Now to make my very own!
Was it worth it? Yes because I'm having fun re-discovering my favorites as I heard them back in the day. I've learned all about auction bidding - I'm getting near on 90% of what I bid for and the my feedback from the sellers is marvellous.

I've also discovered some people have no sense of what things are worth, placing bids way, way over the going rate.

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Spring memories

This time of year always reminds me of my time in Junior School where often we'd go off for part of the morning for a walk doing nature study where we had to find  and identity different 
species of tree, flower, plant or birds.
As part of the lesson we were taught outdoors, we would draw what we'd seen and make notes, feeling things too before returning to our school building.
Just wondering around like we did back then is really helping me recover right now.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Chobits, Islands and Interests

I liked this anime for a long time dealing as it does with technology and that age old question if you could fall in love with a robot in this case a persocom (personal computer in an human looking form) called Chi.
Unfortunately the first dvd set of it got from Ebay I discovered was a fake. It had been made on a computer from a official dvd issue but they had radically reduced the picture quality in an attempt to squeeze 12 episodes on a single sided one layer disc! The discs had inkjet printed labels and no case.
In total the used just three discs for the whole set!!!
Normally a PAL disc can take upt to 6 episodes on a dual layers.
Recently I have replaced it with the UK official 6 dvd PAL set from MVM issued in 2005 which looks much better.

Visitors to certain Forums will have noticed the top left ‘Avatar’ has accompanied my entries of late. It is the front cover of the Kajagoogoo album ‘Islands’ which was released in May 1984 and is the home to the hit singles ‘Big Apple’, ‘The Lion’s Mouth’ and Turn Your Back On Me’. I bought the album having caught the Kajagoogoo bug in the winter of 1983 with the worldwide smash ‘Too Shy’ and the ‘White Feathers’ album. This was the first album following the split with Limahl and marked a period of considerable musical and lyrical maturity on the part of the group. The image is of the UK LP edition. I am still enjoying listening to it and it was re-released on CD in 2004
The Catalogue number is 7243 4 73654 2 3.
Visit the official website at www.kajagoogoo.com/
Winnie The Pooh stickarounds
GBP £10.99
UK stockist: Children's Rooms
Other products available include linen, photo frames and Twin Bell Alarm Clock.

Winnie The Pooh Stikarounds at Children's Rooms
21 May 2006 11:02
Freddie and the Dreamers singer dies
LONDON (Reuters) - Freddie Garrity, the lead singer of the 1960s pop band Freddie and the Dreamers, has died in hospital at the age of 69, his spokesman said on Saturday.
Garrity, originally from Manchester died in hospital in north Wales on Friday with his wife by his side.
The band topped the U.S. charts with "I’m Telling You Now" in 1965 and had further success with "You Were Made For Me".
Garrity had been suffering from emphysema for several years. He was married three times and leaves four children.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Ultimate Girl bands

Why is it all female bands get a a rep as just eye candy?
Take the Bangles for example, fine practitioners of classic 60’s based pop rock dismissed because of hairdos. All three full albums, All Over The Place, Different Light and Everything are of excellent quality.

Not a few hit singles either.
Factor in a good debut mini-album on Miles Copeland’s I.R.S. records and surely they, not Bananarama, were the best all girl band of the 80’s.
Do visit here for more http://www.thebangles.com/
As far female contributions to a mixed gender band the Wilson sister’s contributions to Heart add a vital dimension to that longstanding groups sound.
If you don't own anything by Heart, I would strongly recommend a two CD set - 'The Essential Heart' - on Epic/Sony Music as it covers all their music from the first album 'Dreamboat Annie' to 1995's acoustic set 'The Road Home. The mastering quality of this compilation is excellent - better on the tracks from 'Heart' and 'Bad Animals' than the original 80's Capitol Records CD's.
The European catalog number is 510519 2.
Visit the following links for more on Heart and the Wilson sisters:-

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Reading and me

One of the things that make me different is I don't read things that are targeted at adults and never have so if you were to say see me reading at work or visit me at home you would see pretty much children's books outside say a photography manual or instruction book.
Part of this is because my reading ability is very much restricted to upper juniors struggling to make sense of more grown up language and descriptions in addition to recognizing words.
The other is partially connected and that is because of my childhood injuries my overall development has come to a stop around that point so what I find interesting remains very much what I did prior to those things and much of even teen never mind adult stuff just floats over me.
In that way even if I were a better reader, I still wouldn't get much from 'older' peoples books.

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Winnie The Pooh

Something I've always had time for was A.A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh stories which always held my interest  with well observed situations and lovable characters of which there's been a good number of tie in items to buy.
When I was at college several years ago I met a person I became friends with who was paralyzed in a road accident and one of things that immediately struck me was his love for this series having lots of Winnie The Pooh stationery including a lovely yellow vinyl pencil case with a Tigger motif on the front of it which was unusual  at the time for a guy and he was the only guy on our course too.
We of course just loved it.
There are a number of really good sayings from the series that have been illustrated over the years and this one has always stood out for me as a disabled person:
I think this is one of the most important ones.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Beatles VI - my favourite all time beatles album

Beatles VI

This is my favourite Beatles album of all time and I am so pleased it is being issued on CD next week in ‘The Capitol albums Vol: 2’.
It was issued in June 1965 in North America and other territories outside of the UK.
It features the US Number 1 hit single ‘Eight Day’s A Week’ coupled with it’s ‘b’ side ‘I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party’.
It has two tracks especially recorded for this album in England by Larry Williams ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzie’ and ‘Bad Boy’.
This also is the home of the excellent Lennon and McCartney composition ‘Yes It Is’ which was not issued on a studio album in the UK.
A notable cover version on this album is the Buddy Holly number ‘Words Of Love’.
The Catalogue number is Capitol ST2358 and was also issued on Eight Track (8xt 2358) and Cassette (4xt 2358).
My copy is the Canadian capitol ‘rainbow rim’ from the early 1980’s.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Remake, remodel

This week I received an invite to blog on the social media site Friends Reunited which I joined late last year but to be honest compared to this, it isn't as good when it comes putting images up or the choice of fonts.

I've been remaking my selection of Beatles albums I copied from the records on Minidisc since originally compiling them way back in 1997 on individual minidiscs, painstakingly splitting up each lp side into individual tracks and the titling up each one so with a  flick of the dial, I can move to and instantly see the track I've selected in a way that's more convenient than just playing the record.
It also helps that said discs are very portable so I can take with me on the commute to work or when I go away with a small fold down pair of headphones. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

From the heart

Following on a bit from last weeks post there is something I'd like to talk about that is a bit a painful about things like age and that as it applies to me.
It doesn't matter how many birthdays I may happen to have or how that that may on paper make me, by conventional  standards I have not really moved into what some might call adulthood and in some respects at least aspects of my behavior may appear to be immature.

In lots of ways I have more in common emotionally and that with mid teens which no amount of masking can really cover so sometimes people find themselves dealing more with a kid-adult because of how events in my childhood have left me.
Sometimes I do wonder what would happen if people would treat me more like a child of that age as in some respects I do feel having that kind of oversight and even rules is really better for me as I can cope better with it, achieving more.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Birthday edition

It was recently my birthday so apart from having a number of cards I had some money to put toward the upcoming 1965 Beatles Capitol Albums box set as ever since I was a teen, they've been my favourite group and this set has the albums I had back then and for some more blank minidiscs for my recorder.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

My first post

After considering about having one having now got always on broadband unlike last year, I've finally got around to having a blog.

Things about me:

* I work
* Don't feel old
* I do like music, reading magazines and websites about artists and recordings
* Am addicted to cute things
*Think Anime is the best form of animation, ever
* Feel having a laugh and a joke matters.