Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Springs forward!

Well at long last we've taken a leap into Spring that magical time of year where after all the cold and snow mother earth renews herself in full colour.
The week has been quite warm with temperatures up to 18 degrees C with loads of sunshine and mobile ice cream vans making their appearance.Heck people have been seen sans coats and even wearing shorts!!!Not that unto a few days ago I saw any of as I was suffering from a four and bit day long severe migraine that saw me in bed with the curtains drawn as the light was really bothering me. I've had this since I was a kid so I know the drill of by heart.Anyway I was out for two days yesterday to visit our market town to visit the news store to collect my anime magazine although I ended up buying some books too and today visiting the Post Office locally to return a defective record so I get a full refund having tracked down a replacement copy.
The towns market yesterday was actually very busy with a coachload of tourists and some foreign exchange students trying to get the answers to a questionnaire filled out in the blazing sun coupled with folk musicians playing and the market store holders calling out their wares.
Today was a bit busy here - in few weeks time the narrow boat season starts so we get our tourists - and noticing the daffodils were out planted by local volunteers, took this picture of them by a patch of common ground.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Best of George Harrison

This was always a favourite album of mine during the 70's and early 80's having gone through tape and record editions ever since having and playing it back in boarding school so beyond just the music I felt the need to have this as psychologically it takes me back to that period I feel at ease with.
Here's a bit of time capsule:
In late 1967 the Beatles establish "Apple" a 'do anything we think is groovy' company and one of its' first divisions is records from late 1968 onward their releases are on their very own label. In time they add a variety of other artists usually people they encountered professionally and after the demise of the Beatles as a recording group, the individual beatles issue sole recordings all on Apple.
Fast forward to late 1975 and the Apple is winding down with most of the labels acts resigned to other more mainstream labels and the surviving Beatles have lost their interest in the label.
Ringo establishes his own label with its own distribution arrangements, John Lennon decided he wants to spend time outside music becoming a house-husband, George has established Dark Horse records and Paul has signed to Capitol/Parlophone directly.
In this closing down process Apple decided to issue compilations by John, George and Ringo around 1975 thru '76.
John and Ringo's were fairly straight forward collections of singles and the odd album track but George's was very different.
Maybe it was marketing getting cold feet but for this the Best of George Harrison issued in 1976 somebody decided they need a sides-worth of Beatle tracks to sell it, something ruffled George and his fans no end.
Be that is it may, what that side actually does is show the lyrical, philosophical and musical developmental of George who in the understandable fascination with Lennon and McCartney sometimes gets overlooked for his contributions.
In Something and If I Needed Someone he examines the depth of relationships, Think For Yourself is a rallying call for free thought and in While my Guitar Gently Weeps remains a classy blues number.
The second side may of been a disappointment quantity-wise, but it has some of my favourites 45's from the early 70's such as My Sweet Lord, Bangladesh-the band aid style single if its day - Give Me Love and What Is Life from the acclaimed All Things Must Pass triple album.
I used to own the Parlophone first issue lp as cut by NickW but recently picked up this later reissue with a different sleeve - the US sleeve showed a more 'Cosmic' George - cut by Harry Moss on one side (-3' HTM' side 1 -2 Side 2) that sounds so much better.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


This is new in at Top Shop and I must say I really like it.
Its the knitted Oatmeal Blossom print cardigan being pretty without being too girlie girl.
It's currently £36.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Quake edition

As I sure we're all aware the Japanese Island of Honshu endured a massive earthquake and tsunami on Friday last week that has left many thousands dead, still more homeless and a god awful situation with several of it's nuclear power stations damaged with radiation leakage concerns.
Like a far number of people, I have people I know who are friends over there and do business with sellers too so to me it's not just a profoundly sad foreign news story, it's personal.
Thankfully those I know are alive although some have family members who lost their homes.
There are things you can consider doing from this distance that can help such as giving to your countries local disaster emergency charity an example of which are the Red Cross who have national bodies in Canada, the UK and the States amongst others. People are going to need food, shelter and emergency medical treatment and it can make a difference.
There seems to be to sets of responses to this tragedy of which one is the outpouring of support for the Japanese people who are stoically going about the business of queuing for food, saving important items like photo albums from their fallen houses, cleaning up property and so on.
Would this happen here?
The other and thankfully is a minority is one of "serves them right" from those who are still fighting battles from long ago and worse still those younger people who have been taught such attitudes from the older generations.
I do wish people would stop harping back to WW2 as it wasn't humanities finest moment by a long stroke and it's hard to find any side that did things that upon reflection were unjust impacting on ordinary civilians.
Let's bury that hatchet here and now.
Beyond that I have seen some things that came over as very much self-centred posted around the internet often by hobbyists.
Expressions of concern over supplies from Japan being regarded as 'tragedies' being unable to get what they want. Not having the material is disappointing but surely no one can regard that as a tragedy as no one lost their lives due to an absence of consumer goods.
Faced with the possibility that an order I placed a day before the quake may not come my first move was to send them a message to I was concerned for their well being and hope they were safe rather than getting into a panic over whither my goods would get here.
The following posted at an audio forum took the cake:
A member suggested that a specialty audio cd be pressed in Japan to kick start the Japanese economy in response to hearing the damage. This in country that has thousands dead, many more missing, frequent power outages, food shortages and we're bothered about cd plants and maybe a collectible for themselves???
Grrr!!!!! I had to count to 100 otherwise I'd of typed back "Get a life!"
Sometimes I wonder what is up with people.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Bloomin' great!

Well it may surprise you to know I just love flower displays whither or not they are table displays like the one shown that you have especially if you had guest come on over and you were setting your table to serve them a meal or the sorts of displays we may have in our front rooms or even bedrooms.
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is but somehow it just looks that much better and in the case of front rooms and bedrooms very relaxing to gaze upon them as they give you this sense of calm.
You can of course buy them ready made up but any local florist should be able to supply with with freshly cut flowers and the feed that you really need to add to the water to keep them fresh for a week or two.
For bedrooms though there is a good alternative especially if you suffer from pollen allergies and that is silk flowers that these days are very realistic in their texture which can be easily arranged into small containers.
I re-used a pop bottle - a Britvic orange actually - after removing the labels as a vase and it was very effective so you see it can be done on a low budget!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sounding off!

There will be new entry later for a reason in a few days time however I felt like typing something up a few moments ago.So far into the year I have been spinning black lumps of vinyl most days of the week and even adding new titles to the collection and at times it's felt like I was back in the mid to late 70's when I'd return from high school and lift the lid on my phonograph and spin a disc or two.
Back then Pop made first one for me from a kit that sounded better than most models in the shops comprising of one main unit plus speakers and I graduated to used stereo separates that required a bit of tlc to bring up to standard.
Until the early 80's I never bought a pre-recorded cassette although we had 8 Track tapes for the car stereo and a player for them in the house because even at the early age I was aware of the difference between how a commercial pre-recorded tape duplicated at a very fast speed sounded and what one made yourself on cassette or in my case also open reel 1/4" tape from the record sounded, which if you were around at the time, was the main way to buy recorded music.
So that ritual of lifting up the lid, carefully holding a record by the edges before placing on the turntable and giving it a quick brush before lowering the arm to listen to it is like second nature to me.
And what is more somehow whatever we've gained by way of consumer digital equipment such as cd players and the iniquitous mp3 player (in most respects the replacement for the cassette Walkman personal player) we've lost out on in others.
The first is ever noticeable and that is somehow we have lost that ability to dedicate a small amount of time exclusively to listen to music free from distractions as so many just listen while doing something else whereas before while we had music in our cars we did also listen at home intently.
The other is somehow listening to recordings from records is often more enjoyable as while no background noise is a gain, we some to lost some of the more subtle clues such as the space between instruments, 'a sense of presence' as if you're sitting in on a performance as well as a sense of openness in the sound (I find many cds leave me feeling the sound is 'hemmed in' and a bit mechanical).
While sales of records today are nothing like what they were back then, it is interesting to note that sales of vinyl lps rose by 80% last year while cd sales dropped quite considerably.This might because younger people who are really into music like the idea of something tangible to own and enjoy (there is evidence of a number of young people buying turntables for the first time rather being just a market for those in their middle age or older).
As much as I like Mp3's for convenience, you don't get the same feeling of satisfaction from owning and showing them to friends doesn't compare with showing and talking about the album art, label design and so on.