Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Taste - Rock Trios Part 1

On the train home one day last week I fired up Electric Ladyland on the mp3 player and (as ever) was impressed by the awesome sounds reaching my ears. This got me thinking about the classic 3 piece line up of guitar, bass and drums; 1966 saw the formation of arguably the two finest exponents of the genre, The Jimi Hendrix Eperience and Cream.

We begin our journey through worthy exponents of the genre with a lesser known outfit but one that I remember well from my youth: Taste, yet another example of European musicians heavily influenced by the sounds of the Blues.

Was never lucky enough to see them live, but this clip from their Isle of Wight performance in 1970 gives a taste (sorry, could not resist the opportunity) of what they were like as a live unit. Had trouble finding live clips of the whole band performing, this one is short but sweet:

This one features Rory’s fine slide guitar playing Gambling Blues.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I Predict A Riot

On Wednesday 10th 50,000 students marched through London to protest the Government’s plans to increase fees from their current level of around £3,000 a year to up to £9,000. The road outside our office block was closed as the march was scheduled to end just past us in front of Tate Britain.

Next to our building is a smaller 7 storey block which houses Conservative party headquarters (amongst others), at around 13:30 the fire alarm went off in our tower block and after gathering our possessions we started the long trek down 14 flights of stairs. By the time we reached the tenth floor we could smell smoke and when we got to the fourth we met some people coming up who told us that we needed to switch to the back stairs as smoke bombs had been thrown into reception.

Standing at the back of the building we could hear the baying and chanting of the mob outside the 7 storey block, after about an hour we were told we could go back inside.

The damage to the building next door was pretty extensive but none of our people was hurt which was a result. Today there are more protests planned and even as I write hatches are being battened down, who knows what will happen. In the meantime here are the Kaiser Chiefs with I Predict A Riot.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Not what I see of a morning:

Coming up for six months of the daily shuffle this week and I am surprised to find that the journey is not wearing me down; there are two explanations that might account for this.

The first is the daily uncertainty of wondering if I will make my preferred connection in Guildford; it stops at Clapham Junction where I hop onto another train and exit at Vauxhall – 10 min walk to work and arrive at desk at 07:45.

There is only one stop between it’s starting point and my hometown station but on average it is late two times out of five each week and the window of opportunity at Guildford is only 3 minutes wide, leaving very little room for operator error. Last Thursday was a classic, it arrived on time but the guard/ticket collector made the fatal flaw of walking the train before the 8 minute last leg resulting in 2 stops where we were stationary for over a minute before heading off as he had to walk the length of the train to close the doors.

End result is my connection is still there when I leap off in Guildford but the doors have just been locked so it is a 10 min wait for the next one which will se me arrive at work around 20 mins later than normal.

The second is the constantly evolving cast of characters that I see on my travels each day, on my preferred connection that list includes sleeping dude (25 mins into the journey but always sound asleep), bohemian chick (dresses out of the box c/f her fellow female commuters but always with an eccentric elegant charm), Telegraph dude (always wired into his mp3 while reading the Telegraph), FT dude (every morning he will extract 2 “pills” from a foil wrapped strip and munch away – indigestion tablets or some fancy mints, perhaps one day when my eyes get fixed I will find out).

The pair that I least like to see of a morning get on 2 stops after me on the first train, fortunately they are not regulars as they spend the entire journey talking about their kids football teams. Not so much about the play itself on the park but more around the labyrinthine backbiting on the coaches and other parents. The first time I encountered them I made the mistake of getting into the same coach as them on the second train and their dialogue continued all the way into London – not a mistake that I have repeated.

The good news (as winter looms on the horizon) is that I now have the kit that allows me to work from home; so bring it on Mr Snow I am ready and waiting for you!

Dave Grohl

This is one talented dude, most musicians never break through into the big time with their bands but he has done it three times; from thrashing in drums in Nirvana, to fronting Foo Fighters and most recently thrashing those drums again with Them Crooked Vultures.

Not to mention a slew of other side projects, more power to your fingers Dave – keep the good sounds a coming. Here are Foo Fighters on Jools playing Best of You.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Me and the Pope

The pope is in London on Friday and Saturday.

On a normal working day I leave the office just before 16:00, amble past MI5 HQ before crossing Lambeth Bridge and walking down Lambeth Palace Road to Waterloo.

This Friday at 16:00, the pope dude is visiting Lambeth Palace before crossing Lambeth Bridge at 17:00 in the popemobile.

As a result, the roads in pink on the pdf file in the link are being closed from 11:30 until 21:00!

Having learnt of this I arranged on Monday to finish at 11:50 on Friday (flexi) in the hope that I can escape before the hordes descend – I join Millbank around about the k in Millbank on the link.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Slash - Paradise City – Glastonbury 2010

Nuff said. Enjoy 9 mins plus of one of the many great musical moments from Glastonbury 2010.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Local Crimewave

So, on Wednesday morning I left DBA cottages just before 06:00 to walk to the train station, immediately noticed a police van blocking off the High Street 40 yards from my house. An officer was standing on my side of it and we exchanged good mornings as I passed by, strange place to block the road I thought but there was a train to catch.

Found out the reason on my return when I had to visit the supermarket to pick up some essentials, the building society on the High Street was boarded up; turned out that some would be thieves had used a digger to smash into the building society but had fled the scene empty handed.

What is it about September and digger attacks on local financial institutions? It was five years ago this month that more successful thieves used a digger to remove the ATM from the same branch and another bank was robbed in the same fashion round about that time.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Handsome Hank And His Lonesome Boys'

Earlier tonight I heard an ad on the TV for what I have no fecking idea, however the music was great, it was a bluegrass cover of Guns N’ Roses Paradise City. Again it turns out that Google is your friend as entering “Paradise City country style took me straight to this place on YouTube:

I have been a fan of bluegrass music for sometime now, but this just cracks me up and will be going on my mp3 player real soon; they appear to be Swiss but what the feck, these dudes can play!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Filthy Kicks

Mentioned in yesterday’s post that I was listening to a friend’s band in the car and they are an interesting listen; dance music with some rapping and haunting Yiddish derived violin playing over the top.

Their first release is available for free at their site and I can recommend it if you think they sound interesting.

They have been playing on the festival circuit this summer and have a video which was released last month, enjoy.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Losing The Will To Live

Had Monday off this week so found myself waking up in Somerset on Monday morning, the sun was shining and I was feeling well relaxed; decided to indulge in some shopping on my to and out of Bristol.

First stop was my favourite cider farm Thatchers where I picked up a couple of 12 packs of my regular brews – trauma free, relaxed mode continues.

Next stop was to invest in some CD/DVD storage racks, described as being 2.02m in height; slightly apprehensive about whether they would fit in the car – all depended on if they were a complete length or came in two pieces. Unfortunately for me the location of these racks was in the labyrinthine halls of IKEA, arrived around 11:00 and the car park must have been 90% full – bad omen; 20 mins of shuffling round and I finally found them and the news was bad. They were single pieces of wood and with packaging would probably not fit in the car.

Managed to pick up some glasses and plastic storage containers for less than £5 so my time was not completely wasted; reached the part of the store where you collect your larger item and had to make a decision. Get them and if they did not fit have to endure the torture of the IKEA returns process or cut and run before I had totally lost the will to live.

No contest, 10 mins later I was on the road heading for the M4, listening to a friend’s band on the mp3 player driving the sound system and as Bristol fell behind in the rear view I could feel my spirits rising once more.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Working Again

Just finished my 8th week in a new job and apart from the length of the journey things are going pretty well; the natives have been welcoming and friendly and while the application software that I have to work with could best be described as “quirky” I am starting to get my brain around it.

Unlike last year’s gig this one is permanent so hopefully should not have to place myself in the job market again for a few years; gets a wee bit frustrating applying for jobs and not hearing anything back from 90% of them – anyone would think that there was a world wide recession going on!

The job is in central London but rather than using the tube I have a 20 minute walk along the Thames to get to the office (way more pleasant) – have to walk past this building on the other side of the river:

And then amble past the headquarters of MI5 before finally arriving at my destination.

Hopefully the down time on the journey (and random events observed en route) will prove inspirational in creating blog posts and that “normal” posting will ensue.

Saw my first in train beggar on my 2nd week in, train had left Waterloo and stopped at one station and five minutes later a young man came down the coach saying that he had not eaten for 3 days and any money would be gratefully accepted. That was a surreal experience, made me feel like I was travelling in India rather than in the leafy home counties of olde England.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Customer Service?

My friend D bought a new and expensive fridge freezer when he had his kitchen made over around 2.5 years ago. Last Friday morning he came downstairs to hear an alarm sounding from it and no refrigeration activity to be detected; after unloading the contents and stashing some in the shed outside (giving thanks to the cold snap for a change) he examined his options.

Fortunately he had bought extended warranty for the appliance so he made the call and was told that an “engineer” would call on Tuesday – a hassle but with a good outcome only 4 days away he agreed. Fast forward to Tuesday and the “engineer” calls, two minutes later he announces that the compressor has seized and that it will require a “system engineer” to replace it, swift phone call and the question “Monday afternoon OK?” is put to D.

Valiantly refraining from throttling the guy D asks him why he cannot fix it and is told “I can only fix door lights, change fuses and order parts” there are 30 “engineers” for every “system engineer”. Considering that these appliances are very simple pieces of kit and contain only two major working parts (the compressor and the expansion valve) it seems to us that this company is running a pretty shabby customer service operation.

Now D & family are out of refrigeration options for another six days – assuming that the “trained monkey’s” diagnosis of the fault is the correct one and that swapping the compressor does the trick. Watch this space...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Worst Fouls Ever?

Have seen some dastardly deeds done in the professional game over the years but this young lady from New Mexico really takes things over the top and into a new dimension.

The incredible thing is that the only offence that she received a booking for in this game was for kicking the ball directly into an opponent’s face – makes you wonder what the match officials were doing for the rest of the 90 minutes.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Beer 123 – Morland’s Hen’s Tooth

Had a bottle of this last night with my curry and it went down really well; bottle conditioned which makes it extremely lively when being poured and results in a thick creamy head. Fine red colour and a strong malt taste but pleasantly lacking in sweetness for a brew of it’s strength (6.5% abv) and with some complex fruit flavours going around in the mix. Well worth a try but be careful when pouring due to the liveliness and the need to keep the yeasty bottom in the bottle.

Thanks to Eldest Niece for supplying a box of bottles of this on Boxing Day and to Eldest Nephew for putting 3 into my “goodie box” (which also included some square slice and homemade pepper pate) when I left the West Country

Friday, 8 January 2010

ABC Of Boogie Woogie

Do not know much about the origins of this lot (apart from the drummer) but caught them on Jools Holland’s show last year and they blew me away. Great sound and fine musicians, on this track the two pianists are joined by Jools for some three way boogie woogie, enjoy:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

White Britain

If you follow this link you will see a grand satellite photo of Britsain taken by NASA today – no longer a green and pleasant land it has more the look of Greenland.

Meanwhile in Capetown the English cricket team managed to battle their way to a draw with South Africa – after five days play and with only 17 balls left to be bowled the last English batsmen came to the crease. After 15 nerve jangling minutes the last ball was bowled and the last man was still standing – this is the second time in three test matches that this bowler has batted out time to save his team mates from defeat and keep them hoping for a series victory.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Winter Wonderland

Woke up this morning to find that the weather forecast had indeed been correct for once and 7 to 8 inches of snow had fallen overnight – have never seen this large a fall in this part of Berkshire in all of the 30 odd years I have been living down here. All schools in the county (and neighbouring ones) were closed for the day and I will be surprised if any are open tomorrow; a walk up the high street revealed that most of the shops and banks were also shut but luckily the local co-op was open and I was able to resupply on Fairtrade tea bags.

With more heavy snow forecast for tonight and temperatures dropping to -5C overnight and sub zero all day tomorrow and beyond it could take a while for this lot to disappear – my one consolation is that as I am currently looking for work using various internet sites the disruption has not affected my day.

Also a bit weird to be listening to cricket commentary from South Africa in the midst of all the snow and ice (temperature there dropped by 10 degrees from yesterday to a balmy 25C!). Photos were taken out the back of DBA cottages earlier today.