Sunday, 28 August 2011

Retro looks

Ever had that sense of deja vu? Well when I saw these just in at next that's exactly how I felt seeing these solid block heeled shoes as well with that combination of colours. So 70's, eh?
Some say with fashion if ya wait long enough it comes back in again and with these shoes it sure seems that way.
Price £36.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Stop! Stop! Stop! & Wednesday Week

Well apart from some bad rain Tuesday night, it hasn't been a bad ol' week at all as far as the weather goes having been out a bit. Indeed the sun is shining very brightly as I type this out.

The Hollies:

Bus Stop c/w Stop! Stop! Stop!

The Sound: The most striking thing is the lack of grey harshness compared to my experience of the 6 CD box Clarke,Hicks and Nash set that is remarkable value for money in some ways (and no doubt the same on the individual stereo/mono cds) and a sense of more resolution that is most marked on Bus Stop. Stop Stop Stop is the re-titled US issue that is the same as the UK For Certain Because album which is a gem of the Hollies 60's output. For once I did feel like turn the volume right up and noticed the 'scale' increased sounding like you're surrounded by a beat group with real dynamics sound lacking the oppressive buzz of limited mastering. There's some good low end on this cd. To summarize, If you're looking for the best currently available For Certain Because on cd then this is it outperforming the UK EMI editions and Bus Stop as much as it is a hodge podge of tracks over two years does gel reasonably well giving you good versions of the songs from their respective UK tape sources.

BGO also issued the first two US Hollies albums, Here I Go Again which comprises of a selection from their UK lp Stay with the Hollies with singles and b sides while Hear! Here! is essentially the same as the UK Hollies album of 1965 bar two tracks changed for I'm Alive and Look Through Any Window.
This disc is all mono which is as well as those early stereo mixes weren't to great as either stereo or punchy sounding.

As well I have some James Taylor discs coming in dribs and drabs and I'm hearing Mofi are going to be doing the ELO album Out Of The Blue the home of Sweet Talking Women and Mr Blue Sky soon as a sacd that'll play on regular cd players too that ought to sound really good.

Finally, I have actually joined a social networking site that meets my privacy and information sharing needs having fought off many attempts to get me to sign up to a leading one over the last few years.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Come fly with me

Nothing to do with Sinatra not that there's anything wrong with his performances as you count me as a closet admirer, but one bonus of the recent good weather has been it's been nice to be able to stroll about and just admire mother nature herself unhurried.
Today I had to walk down to the local stores about a half mile as the crow flies where I notices several white butterflies in peoples gardens (those who still have gardens (sigh)) and also on a patch of open land which is allowed to grew a bit wild with wild flowers and hedgerows.
It was beautiful watching them flutter on the air currents from flower to flower.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Panic stations!

So far this week all I've been hearing is a sense of moral panic following last weeks disturbances, riots or whatever phrase you may care to deploy to describe what happened in England.

As I said last week here and in a few other places I have no intentions of getting into any kind of a political debate over this in part cos I know just how much exposure to our political points of view can cause irreparable damage to our friendships as well as being seriously hacked off about the rhetoric and posturing of all the major politicians over here over it.

Greed and a sense of 'got to have it all' have been raised by many commentators political, social and religious to explain in part the actions we saw.

Greed is by now means new in our society and it's history goes well back to the Bible.

It is used as a motivator for consumerism by commerce as we're encouraged to think the regular 1.6 four door automobile isn't good enough for us, we can do better and anyway don't we deserve this even if we don't really need it and sometimes there may be an opportunity cost to others, such as putting that second car on the road cos our garage isn't big enough?

Greed is not uncommon when quite literally our neighbours submit building plans that use part of OUR gardens for their OWN gain and lets not forget those politicians who took our money as tax payer for expenses that they had not in fact incurred.

It seems to me those out were little different morally in that regard.

That takes to the idea of looting and stealing as somehow shocking acts committed by the urban youth.

Let me make it clear I disagree theft and theft with any kind of menace actual or implied but in a society where others are seen to get away with it, the moral bar is lowered and in a year that has seen many powerful people caught out defrauding us and getting lenient sentences is it that surprising that such crimes do occur in the heat of disturbances?

And are these exactly new as I can't help but wonder if we hadn't had this in previous centuries and hadn't that led to the Riot Act?

While disagreeing the actions, I'm not so strongly persuaded all this can be blamed on mid twentieth century social values such as Liberalism or the Welfare State rather the disconnect between action and consequence which outside of last weeks actions has resulted in other issues across society. And often politicians fail to acknowledge themselves the connection between the actions and the consequences as much as they are entitled to make their arguments to favour of a policy. None of us can afford to just disregard each other as immaterial in the bigger plan.

The reaction to the Prison Minister's comments trying to categorize rape offences into minor and major is testimony to that.

I suppose my final musing form a moral stand point is one of disbelief that Politicians of all parties were trying to say how they had brought about decisive action who themselves were on vacation seemingly regarding the disturbances across the Capital, London, as being not sufficient reason to return while they were being dealt with by Police forces on the ground.

The perimeters are set by Parliament through with the Police fighting away through the often contradictory guidance and recommendations of previous inquiries into similar situations to keep the peace without direct political interference.If the politicians want to make life easier for policing these things, perhaps they'd care to reform the guidance using parliamentary time instead?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Neko time

I suppose with all the trouble we've had in the last week over here, we could use a little luck so I thought I'd put up a picture from the stock of TokyoJazzPanda of a good luck cat I like. The Kanji on the coin reads "Peace" which is very apt.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Naruto Shippuden Vol.5 & 6

While some no doubt have been checking if they still have a neighbourhood after this weeks disturbances that I'll keep a dignified silence on least anyone get the wrong idea, apart from being pawley -again - which is why this entry is kinda short, I had a dvd come that I'd put off due to other much more expensive stuff I wanted to get a few months back.Such is life!
Naruto is a series I've enjoyed since starting the Shippendun series to which you'll find previous entries dotted about this blog, this volume No.5 which thankfully comes as 13 episodes on two discs in a single dvd case.
I really really dislike single volumes discs of the four episode types we used to get and some Japanese companies are forcing their overseas distributors to do as with Vampire knight and K-On!
This Volume 5 follows Naruto our ninja, who is troubled by nightmares after his second failed attempt to bring Sasuke home.
While recovering in the hospital Kakashi,, suggests a new training regime for Naruto that puts him in touch with his wind chakra nature.

Here we go to Volume 6 of this long running series. In the village Hidden in the Leaves, ninja reign supreme, and school is literally a battlefield. Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are teenage classmates and ninja in training, working together -of sorts! - under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi. Sasuke is training to win revenge...Sakura is training to win Sasuke...And Naruto, the class clown, insists that he ll become the greatest nija in the World! Nothing like self belief now is there?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Otomen Volumes 8 to 10

Phew, doesn't time fly, eh. The last time I blogged about Otomen was way back in November  23rd 2010.
I don't feel like repeating myself on what is hot day here, but I've just finished reading Volume 10 and the last volume we talked about was 7 so be sure to dig out the relevant entries for the background but it's the high school set story of two lovers Asuka and Ryo neither of which conform to gender stereotypes and contradictory personal likes.
On the outset of Episode 8 we see Ryo leaving the Academy to look after her ill grandfather having had a farewell concert put on in her honour.
After a while Asuka and friends become concerned the burden of doing this on her own maybe too much so Asuka travels over seeing the clueless Ryo - domesticity never being her strong point- and takes over.
After a while Grandfather recovers and shocks the couple by revealing he too was an Otomen who had to keep his love of girly things a secret!
Anyhow he  returns to Tokyo with them.
Upon returning to the Academy something is very much afoot as cousin of Asuka called Kasuga transfers establishing the Morals Committee of the Student Body to suppress gender noncomformity. doing inspections, banning the gardening and flower clubs and even trying to hypnotize them. Perhaps this is a reaction to the shame he felt about Asuka's fathers situation (see Vol:1) so he's trying to prevent similar situations. Even the teaching staff are changed and a new female teacher is introduced to push girls away from sports and intellectual tasks to crafts and just being well obsessed with cuteness in the belief that's what boys really want.
For a while it seems to work but in the end the couple and their friends find it wears off as they cannot help being themselves not that it effected Asuka's ability to be the lead in the Kendo club defeating the new teacher at the sport.