Posts archive for: June, 2006
  • Strange Bedfellows

    I found myself in a strange situation today where I was suddenly cheering for the Germans in their clash against the Argies. It was a cracking game and I'm glad the Germans won - even if it was on penalties! I had to listen to them on Radio 5 which was a bugger.

    England v Germany in the final?

    Soundtrack to today:

    Jah Wobble & The English Roots Band - Belladrum Festival 2005
    The Orb - brixton 1992

    (plus Desert Island discs (Physicist Sir Peter Mansfield) and of course the footie

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  • The pro's and con's of hitchhiking

    I'd had a good day - the long awaited letter from my ex arrived yesterday and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I'd expected a letter from her solicitor threatening or informing me of a return to court (but I always expect the worst so things can only get better) but instead it was just a letter slagging me off so a sigh of relief was breathed.

    Anyway things were going well until I phoned my Dad. after being talked at for 10 minutes he said I sounded depressed. Well I wasn't until about 10 minutes ago :roll:

    Soundtrack to today:

    Shibusashirazu Orchestra - NHK 505 Studio, Tokyo Japan
    John Cooper Clarke - Edinburgh 1984

  • Somewhere over the Rainbow

    Another one from nearly 30 years ago - I recently found a recording of this show and it set the memory whirring backwards in time.

    Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
    Newcastle City Hall
    November 1. 1977

    Over the Rainbow
    Kill the King
    16th Century Greensleeves
    Catch the Rainbow
    Long Live Rock'n'Roll
    Man on the Silver Mountain
    Night People
    Still I'm Sad
    Over the Rainbow

    Rainbow played two nights at Newcastle City Hall and we decided to go on the second night. I don’t remember why we made this decision except that we figured that if they were playing two nights they would have any problems sorted out by the second night. How right we were!!! The bands management had forgotten to put a fork lift truck on their rider and the whole rig was held up while one was found.

    The cause of the problem was Cozy Powell’s hydraulic drum riser which was too heavy to manhandle onto the stage. As it was one of the first things to go on then it held up the entire rig. Apparently it was very late by the time the gig kicked off and many people had to leave before Rainbow finished in order to catch trains or buses home again.


    The first thing you saw when you entered the hall was a giant rainbow that stretched the entire width of the stage. It was made up of coloured lights and a huge logo was hanging underneath it. We were at the very front – second row I think, right in front of Blackmore.

    The support band that night were Kingfish but I don’t remember much about them – shame really as the band used to have the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir as a member (although he had left by the time they toured the UK). I’m sure we watched them as it was unusual for us to miss anyone in those days when we were just finding our way.

    Then the lights went out and over the PA system came the voice of Judy Garland. “You know Toto I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, we must be over the Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow….Blam! the band burst onto the stage and opened the show with Kill the King. Blackmore was right in front of us dressed in black and playing a white Stratocaster. Dio was centre stage, Cozy Powell behind him and the bassist and keyboard player on the far side.

    There were two things that stand out from the show. The first was Cozy Powell’s drum solo which was based on the 1812 overture which played in the background. During the drum solo the whole drum riser lifter up and moved to the front of the stage so that he was high above the audience. On the very last beat of the solo two very bright magnesium flashes went off. We were so close to the front and were virtually blinded for the next few minutes so we didn’t see the drum kit go back or the rest of the band return.

    Towards the end of the show Blackmore disappeared behind the rainbow and when he returned he was playing a cheap copy of the cream Stratocaster that he was playing earlier. A few minutes later he proceeded to smash the guitar. I recall that he had difficulty getting the neck to separate from the rest of the guitar because the strings held it in place. He threw the bits into the audience but sadly they all went over our heads but judging by the scramble for them it was just as well.

    So that was it – the only time I saw them. I only really liked the first album and part of Rainbow Rising and they were never the same after Dio left. That Graham Bonnet Pop-rock stuff didn’t do it for me. I was disappointed that they didn’t play Temple of the King but as far as I can ascertain they never played it live.


    NB This isn't my ticket which is still in a packing box somewhere in the garage. Thanks to someone who delights in the name of Soreballs for that! Also the picture wasn't at City Hall but was from the same tour.

  • What is and what should never be

    Almost 30 years ago I went to see Led Zeppelin at Knebworth and took my camera along with me. This is one of the pictures I took.


    Then about 7 years ago I put together a website about the day. I'd originally written it for Q magazine but sent it to the wrong e-mail address and it didn't get published. So I made it into a web page.

    A few years later I was contacted by Henrietta Bannister, daughter of the promoter Freddie who asked if they could use the above photograph as part of a box set about the Knebworth festivals. She offered to send me a copy in return - I agreed. I sent him the original negative and although I got the box set the negative was never returned.

    Later still I was approached by a company called M productions who were putting together a DVD of Led Zeppelin videos. They asked if I had a t-shirt, program and badge they could borrow. They said I would get a credit on the DVD and a free copy. I again agreed. This time I got my things back and the credit is on the DVD but I never did get a free copy. In fact as I was expecting it I never even got around to buying the DVD when it came out in 2003.

    Anyway a few months ago I mentioned to a friend that I had a bootleg of the Led Zeppelin show I went to on 4th August 1979. He asked me for a copy and I agreed to copy it for him but I kept forgetting. Anyway after many months of badgering me for it I finally sent it to him a few weeks ago.

    This morning when I arrived at work there was a copy of the DVD on my desk. he had bought me a copy to say thank you. There are some nice people in this world after all.

  • Don't look back

    Today - Wednesday 28th June 2006 would have been my 20th wedding anniversary - ho hum

    Soundtrack to today:

    Pink Floyd - Wish you were here
    Frank Zappa - Thingfish

  • Picture this

    I didn't blog yesterday because a) The firewall at work randomly blocks the site and b) I fell asleep on the sofa last night!!

    Anyway today I opened a FlickR account to upload pictures to - if you want to have a look it's here

    Soundtrack to yesterday:

    Willie Mason - Where the human's eat
    Budgie - Never turn your back on a friend
    Pink Floyd - Live at Pompeii

  • Aussie Rules Football

    The Aussies was robbed! - either by a cheating Italian diver or by a bad decision by a referee. In case you didn't see it a penalty was awarded in the very last minute allowing the Italians to win with the last kick of the game.

    Curiously I was just talking about referees five minutes earlier saying either the referee's decision should be final and they should stop showing the incidents from every angle to prove the ref was wrong or more use should be made of TV to help make decisions on the pitch. After the Australia game I think I'm tending to the latter.

    And as for red and yellow cards - there are so many being issued the teams in the final will be lucky if they still have 11 players eligible to play!!!

    All in all I'm finding the whole competition a little dull and disappointing.

    Soundtrack to today:

    The Grateful Dead - Live/Dead
    Gorillaz - Demon Days

  • Separated at Birth? (2)


    Sven-Goran Eriksson


    Hangle from Wizadora

  • Separated at birth?


    Peter Crouch


    Munch from Two Pints

  • Woo hoo we won

    But wouldn't it be nice if just once in this World Cup we could finish a game and we could all feel like the team deserved to win and hadn't just scraped through by the skin of their teeth.

  • In the darkness of my night

    Wednesday night was a really bad night.

    First up I was doing an Award ceremony at a posh London hotel (5*) for which our company was one of the main sponsors. In fact we were supplying all of the equipment and crew free of charge. When it came to feeding the crew though the hotel claimed that they hadn't been asked to provide any food and told us all they could manage at short notice was some sandwiches and chips - yeah right.

    I was so angry but of course had to remain professional about the whole thing - sometimes we get the rough end of the deal. We are expected to remain on site from 4pm till 3am without a proper break and that's the best food they can offer us - bastards.

    Anyway I wasn't feeling very well and my head was thumping so I set off for home about 10:30 just after the disco started. I have no idea how I managed to get home I felt really dreadful.

    When I got to Victoria all hell let loose. My ex-wife had decided to phone Sarah and had given her a piece of her mind! The word bitch apparently featured quite a lot as well as the concept of winning and losing. Apparently Sarah had to suffer a tirade for about 20 minutes.

    I got phonecalls from Sarah, my eldest daughter in tears and of course my ex. The ones from the ex ranged from psycho to niceness in the space of 10 minutes. Grrrrr!

    Soundtrack to today

    Miles Davis - Rotterdam 1969
    Frank Zappa - Aposthrophe(')
    Frank Zappa - Over-nite Sensation

  • Good game good game

    Well that was exciting but for the wrong reasons

    Why didn't we beat them?

    Anyway at least we avoid Germany (until the final ;))

    Soundtrack for Today

    The rest of the KPFA Vince Welnick tribute

    David Gans - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley CA 10/11 March 2006

    Can - Ege Bamyasi

  • That's Better

    Subject says it all!!:DD

    Shame about Owen though

  • Long, long way to go home


    Today I've been listening to a tribute to Vince Welnick, former tubes and Grateful Dead keyboard player who died recently. The tribute was broadcast on a program called Dead to the World on KPFA in San Francisco. It can be downloaded from host David Gans site.

    It's a lot less than prison
    but it's more than a jail
    I'd tell you all about it
    but that's another tale

    It's a long long long long way to go home

    Sadly it looks as though Vince's suicide may have had something to do with him stopping taking the medication he was taking for depression.

    The picture above was taken backstage at Knebworth in 1978 which was one of the times I saw the Tubes. It's from The Archive - history of UK festivals website.

  • Out on the weekend

    Where did the weekend go? Didn't seem to stop but the weather was nice and we got up to some fun stuff.

    Ben woke us up nice and early Saturday morning and that was when we discovered the hole in the hose for the vacuum cleaner. That's ok I thought - just cut the end off and stuff it back in. It was only when I removed the insulation tape holding the hose on that I saw the electrical wires. Bugger I forgot that the control is on the tube and therefore the electric has to get to it. So there I was at 7:30 in the morning sitting in the garden with a soldering iron.

    Saturday lunchtime we had to go to a school fete because youngest step daughter was making her debut appearance with the majorettes she joined a few weeks ago. She wasn't doing any of the complicated stuff but she still did very well and looked very smart in her uniform. Sarah had stressed all morning about putting her hair in a bun but she needed have worried as there were worse ones there!!!

    We spent most of the time at the school sitting in the shade because the sun was so hot. Ben just crashed out and missed his sisters big moment. My eldest daughter had gone to her friends sister's wedding and as it was the week they live at their mum's we hadn't seen her go off. We decided to sneak over and see if we could catch a glimpse (oh and of course see what the Bride and Groom looked like.)

    As we came round the corner the church bells were ringing so we figured we hadn't missed it. We peeked round the corner and could see Beth standing with another friend, she looked very smart and grown up. We attracted her attention and at first I thought she wasn't happy about us being there. However she came over and asked if she could take Ben to meet her friend. Before we knew where we were Ben was in some of the Wedding pictures!!

    Afterwards we had to go into town to what used to be Dixons to return both of the DVD players we got last week as nether of them worked. That done we headed off to Tesco.That evening as my youngest step daughter was heading off to be she appeared next to where I was sitting on the sofa, grinned maniacally at me and said "Daddy's day tomorrow". And so it was.....

    How come Mothers get to put their feet up on Mother's day but on Father's don't even bother answering that I'm sure I know what you're going to say already!!!

    trains 2

    Anyway I got some nice cards and prezzies from the kids and we went on a day out to a park in Swanley which has a little train (yes we are obsessed), a paddling pool and boating lake. Once again we spent most of the day in the shade - this time under a big tree near the paddling pool.

    Ben went for a paddle and the rest of the girls went on the boating lake in canoes. We had a nice picnic, ice creams etc before we caught the train back to the carpark. On the way back we dropped my two back to their mums and went to pick up a playpen - another Freecycle item - which is needed to stop Ben throwing himself off the sofa while Sarah goes to the loo!!!

    ben on train again

    Oh and I managed to sight read an entire 16 bars on the piano - Not much I know but it made me happy!!

  • No further comment required!

    Well we are through but we will have to play much better when we face Germany or Ecuador.

    Maybe if Sven went home now and Beckham handed over the armband to someone who could inspire the team?

  • Back home they'll be thinking about us in every game we play!

    Well England's second match is about to start, let's hope it's a better game than the last one.

    Bastard thing is that I'll have to listen to the second half on the radio while driving home :##

    Soundtrack to today

    Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
    Can - Tago Mago

    (and the football on the way home!)


  • Benny's big day out

    Nothing very exciting happened today - I was up in London doing a conference for those nice Transport for London people - you know the ones who charge you £8 just to drive into the centre. Still mustn't grumble as they did recently send me a lovely picture of my car driving past the Tower of London. Only cost £50.

    Anyway I thought I'd write about Ben the birthday boy's big day out on Sunday. We decided we'd take him out as it was his birthday and as he was too young to decide where he would like to go, we thought we would decide for him. We decided what he would really like was to go on a train to the seaside.

    bennys birthday train

    So we drove down to New Romney, met up with his Grandad (North) and Grandma who'd come down from Sundeland. We also met his Nanny and Uncle as well. We caught the train to Dymchurch where we spent the day on the beach. Ben seemed to like the trains - he'd been on steam trains before but these were more his size!!

    me and grandad on the train

    We had a nice picnic on the beach and then we took Benny into the water. Sarah had bought him this lttle wetsuit for Austrailia later this year so we thought we would try it out. He'd been swimming before but this was his first time in the sea. He found it a little cold but kind of liked the waves. He got a bit of a shock though when the water came up to his waist but that happens to most blokes ;)

    honest I can walk

    He was helped back up the beach by his two big sisters before he went on a donkey ride. We found a suitable donkey and he hung on tight while it meandered down the beach and back. I think he liked it!

    ben on donkey

    Afterwards we went to the fairground and then we caught the train back.

    Soundtrack to Today

    Amadou et Miriam - Dimanche a Bamako
    Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
    Jah Wobble - Mu

  • Angels and Airwaves

    My daughter went to see the above mentioned band at the Astoria last night. She had seen then before at Give it a name at Earls Court but on that occasion she had to be dragged off to the medical centre after ten minutes of the set after being crushed down the front. They were in the medical centre for ten minutes and by the time they got back the band were nearly finished.

    So she went to see them again last night (after much angst - it being her brothers first birthday) and as they were getting back late she asked if she could just go to her mums which is nearer the station her friends were getting off the train at. I agreed but when I went to pick her up for school this morning she was still asleep. Her alarm hadn't gone off and her mother didn't think to wake her GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

    Anway I've decided to try and blog more often. I started this nearly a year ago and so far it hasn't been what I was expecting it to be. But that's ok. I must admit it sort of went to the wall a bit when I was ill. Anyway i will try and write something everyday - even if it's a load of bollocks!!

    Soundtrack to today:

    Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti
    Frank Zappa - Hot Rats
    Tom Waits - The Asylum Years
    Television - Marquee Moon

  • Happy Birthday Ben

    It doesn't seem like it but it's a year since my son was born.


    Close your eyes, Have no fear,
    The monsters gone, he's on the run
    and your daddy's here.

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Boy,
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Boy,

    Happy Birthday Ben x x

  • Same shit different tournament

    God that was awful - ok so we won but we didn't deserve to. As usual we played well for 20 minutes and then slumped till half time. In the second half we played like a Sunday pub team.

    The team doesn't deserve the following it's got both at home and in Germany. Erickson consistantly takes some of the best players in the world and they play like shit. I'll be glad when he's gone.

    We won't win the world cup playing like that!

  • England Expects....

    Less than 5 minutes to kick off

    We went out this morning and the town centre was awash with red and white shirts. About 1pm it just emptied.

    Let's hope the game (and result) lives up to expectations

  • The best things in life are free

    Time for something a little more positive! We've discovered a fantastic idea called Freecycle. It's an international network of local groups. The idea is simple - you've got something you no longer need, you advertise it on a yahoo group and if someone wants it you give it to them. Similarly if someone advertises something you want they give it to you.


    So far we've got a load of bricks to use as hardcore to fill in an old pond, a carseat for Ben and two sleeping bags. We've given away a rabbit hutch and a set of encyclopedias.

    I think it's a great idea which appeals to my altruistic side and my (old) hippy ideals. It's also better than chucking the stuff in a landfill site. Although I must confess that throwing stuff in the crusher at the tip and watching it being crushed was very theraputic during my divorce!!

    Join your local group by going to the Freecycle site - you know it makes sense!!

  • White Punks on dope

    Vince Welnick
    February 21, 1955 - June 2, 2006

    More sad news today of the apparent suicide of the former Tubes and Grateful Dead keyboard player Vince Welnick at his home in California. Details are unknown but apparently he had been suffering from depression and cancer. I saw him twice with the Tubes, Knebworth and Newcastle and once with the Grateful Dead at Wembley just after he joined the band.

    It means that all of the bands permenant keyboard players are now dead in a bizarre Spinal Tap style exploding drummer saga. Original keyboard player Pigpen died in '72 of the complications of alcohol abuse. His replacement Keith Godchaux died in a car crash in 1980 shortly after leaving the band. Then there was Brent Mydland who died in 1990 of a drugs overdose and now Vince. Thee were two other people who played keyboards ona temporary basis who have survived Tom Constanten and Bruce Hornsby but they were never permenant members of the band so I guess they escaped the curse.

    Since the death of Jerry Garcia and the band coming to an end Vince had apparently been shunned by the rest of the group - not even being invited to play with the offshoot bands The Other Ones or The Dead. There is also a story that the band held a re-union for all surviving members but again Vince wasn't invited. In the words of their biographer and publicist Dennis Mcnally "The band might have been a family but it was a disfunctional one"

    It's been a sad week in Grateful Dead land and I shall wear my favourite tie-dye t-shirt to brighten up the world today. RIP Vince, Ramrod and Hamza El Din.

    See obituary in the Guardian

    My blog has been all doom and gloom recently lets hope for something positive next time.

  • Spreading his light all around

    Just been watching a program on BBC4 about the late great Viv Stanshall - one of Englands true geniuses. Probably one of the greatest users of the English Language in the 20th Century. Sadly he died in a fire in his flat in 1995 when he fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth.

    I haven't the words to explain his genius so I'll just add a section of his masterpiece Sir Henry at rawlinson End.

    "Filth hounds of Hades!"

    Sir Henry Rawlinson surfaced from the blackness, hot and fidgety, fuss, bother and itch, conscious mind coming up too fast for the bends, through pack-ice thrubbing seas, boom-sounders, blow-holes, harsh-croak Blind Pews tip-tap-tocking for escape from his pressing skull.

    With a gaseous grunt he rolled away from the needle-cruel light acupuncuring his pickle-onion eyes, and with key-bending will slit-peered at the cold trench Florrie had left on her side of the bed. Tongue like yesterday's fried cod: "Mind over batter? Tongue sandwiches? Bleah! Eat what? But it's been in somebody else's mouth!" Black spot! The Blind Pews were now thrashing with their canes. "God's turban and tutu! Do I need a dare of the hog?"

    He reached for the bellrope, yanked savagely to summon the housekeeper, and discovered himself, nighty round his waist, turned tortoise on the rug. Paralysis lasted... scarce a blink but with impotent rage he bellied his unwilling hulk to the wardrobe. Cold comfort, as his palsied hand found the shotgun. Good stock. "Roll over!" One action: commando stuff. "Cock over!" Safety off, both barrels through the ceiling. Stunned shock and then Henry's eruptive bellow "Mrs. E!". The plaster had not setted before the housekeeper stood lurcher-backed at-your-servile-sir in the room.

    "Yes?" she said.
    "I don't know what I want but I want it now".
    "Fried or fried?"
    "With or without, dear?"
    "Within. Get out."
    "Fried, without... Mmm... Off, dear."

  • Dead to the World

    There have been two deaths this week that have caught my eye because of their connection to my favourite band the Grateful Dead.

    The first was Hamza El Din – an Egyptian Oud player and percussionist. He was involved with helping to organise the Grateful Dead’s concerts at the pyramids in 1978. Apart from a few recordings of his appearances with the band I haven’t heard any of his music but as far as I can work out he was highly regarded. He died in San Francisco from complications after an operation.

    Obituaries in the Guardian and Independent

    The other death was that of Ramrod – one of the Grateful Dead’s roadcrew. Curiously, considering how little the band are known in the UK , there were obituaries in both the Times and the Independent. He died of lung cancer after a short illness.

    Ramrod was one of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and was on the original bus trip with Neal Cassady as they travelled across the States. He joined the Dead family when Kesey sent him over to their house because they needed a good man. That was in the mid sixties and he remained with the group until 2005 – ten years after they officially ceased to exist.

    The bands lyricist Robert Hunter wrote an elegy for him which is beautiful.

  • New MP3 player


    This was how I listened to some MP3 files I downloaded this morning. It was from a radio show called Dead to the World on KPFA in San Francisco which goes out at 4am UK time. So instead of getting up in the middle of the night I downloaded the files from their archive. Unfortunately I didn't have time to transfer them onto the MP3 player so I simply plugged the laptop in!! Note the seatbelt just in case of sudden braking.

    Isn't technology wonderful!!

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