Monday, 23 March 2020

Day 3 Lockdown awaits

Worked from home today - the new normal.  I'm not keen to be honest.  My set-up's reasonable enough.  A room set aside, a big desk and a nice chair so it's comfortable enough but home's home and good and work's work and tolerable.

I try to work hard at home but it would be silly to deny that I'm a bit pre-occupied at the moment.  Anyway, as it's the new normal I decided that listening to music is going to be part of the new normal and that this week I'd concentrate on listening to The Kinks.  Why the hell not? 

I know little about The Kinks.  Obviously Ray Davies and his brother Dave was in them and in the sixties they had loads of great singles, they played a memorable (in my opinion anyway) concert on Christmas Eve 1977 that was televised live on the BBC and they brough out a great Christmas single that bombed.  They had a long list of great songs that were covered by other artis.  David Watts (The Jam), Stop Your Sobbing (Pretenders), Days (Kirsty McCall) and Victoria (The Fall) immediately spring to mind and I'll argue all day long that in the sixties, songs wise (everything in my world) they were only bettered by The Beatles.

So I listened to the The Kinks Pye Album Collection which I'd ripped to my iTunes comprising of the 10 albums they recorded for the Pye label and although a little patchy there were enough great songs to get me through the day.  Especially enjoyed The Kink Controversy, We Are The Village Green Preservation Society (originally panned but latterly revered) and Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire.  Think I'll listen to them again tomorrow.

I went to Shamila's after work to set up her new TV (I wonder how much longer I'm going to be able to travel between our houses?) and watch the nightly government address. And Ian was right we're going to be in (our version of) lockdown from tomorrow. Pretty much the same restrictions as in Italy and Spain (can go out to work if you have to or go to the shops or for medical treatment or to visit a sick relative) but we're also going to be allowed to go out to exercise once a day.  It doesn't sound like it's all been ironed out yet (nothing does) and I can't imagine how they're going to police it.

I guess that's it for now then.  What the hell.  I can't work from Shamila's so I guess I'll be locked down in TS3.  Jeez, how did it come to this?  It's mad, it even seems a good option.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Day 2 - Last day in the countryside?

Hardly the countryside but the Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park was beautiful today.  It's just on the edge of Billingham, semi industrial and a quite smelly in parts but we like it. From what Johnson said tonight it might have been our last trip out for some time.  Not as many people out as yesterday.  Lots of talk on the news about people being irresponsible.  In fairness not us, we managed to get out twice this weekend and our social distancing was text book if I say so myself.

Had a chat with my brother in Spain.  He said we're going to be locked down tomorrow.  I didn't think so at the time but when I saw Johnson on the news I can see what he's saying.

Spoke to my ex-wife about Michael in Lowestoft. She assured me he'll be ok so I'll stop fretting for now.

That's enough  for tonight.  Working from tomorrow in solitary confinement.  Here's a few snaps from today.  As I used to say more filler than thriller.

 This lake might have it's own name a name but I'm buggered if I know but it's in Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park

Village Hall in Greatham oldy worldy stylee. 

Distancing with Shamila in Greatham

Some random pylons in a farmer's field near  Greatham.  Looks a bit blurry?  Hey ho, looked ok on the phone.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Day 1 part 2

Definitely felt a bit weird today.  There were about 10 people stood outside the pharmacy as I parked up to pick up my 4 weeks supply of tablets.  When I got closer I read the sign in the window "3 customers only at any one time".  Fortunately only 2 of the 10 were waiting in the queue.

As I entered the shop I got a view of the pharmacist with a mask over his mouth.  For some reason his assistant didn’t.  I really hope it wasn’t because of a shortage of masks.  I received my tablets and exited and sighed with relief. 

Quite rightly lots of talk about heroic staff in NHS but lots of heroes also elsewhere.  I’ll start with shout for chemist staff, shop workers generally, post workers, carers, bus drivers, logistic staff, (all) cleaners.  Lots there and sure will be more.

After that we drove over to Coulby Newham Farm (of course closed) for an 8 mile walk through Fairy Dell, along Marton West Beck through Marton to Nunthorpe Village and back over the fields via Brass Castle Lane.

We loved it, it’s a great walk we’ve done many times but it felt very different today.  There were lots of people out, unusually so but it felt like everybody knew the score keeping a fair distance apart when we crossed. Lots of smiles and a few hello’s but no stopping to chat.

I wonder how much longer we’ll be able to do this for?


My Corona - Setting the Scene

So I haven’t posted for a while (again) but all good things must come to an end. 

I’d never even heard of social distancing a week ago but the government has advised anybody over the age of 70 or under 70 with an underlying health condition (defined as anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds) has to be “particularly stringent in following socially distancing measures”.  Count me in (under 70 and a flu jab).

I treated today as the official day one of my social-distancing but it turns out it doesn’t start until Monday (I must have missed something).  In any case I’ve actually been socially-distancing since last Tuesday when my employer offered me the chance to work from home.  I’ve done home working before and I’m not keen but I’ve been told by BJ that it’s my duty to try not to catch the virus so I felt it was the right thing to do.   

I don’t feel particularly vulnerable but I had a mild heart attack nearly 6 years ago.  They patched me up and put me on tablets for life with an annual flu jab thrown in for free.    I was devastated and it took me a long time to come to terms with it psychologically but I no longer feel any stigma.  I’m pretty fit and healthy, I go to the gym, I’m not particularly overweight, I eat pretty well, blah blah blah and in the interests of full disclosure my heart wasn’t even damaged by the heart attack.  But if the government considers me vulnerable that’s fine by me.  I’m determined to not to catch the virus easily.    

My social distancing is not going to be without complications but then again is anybody’s?   I manage my life between me and Shamila’s homes.  I’m planning on working from my home and Shamila will work from hers.  She is well aware of the issues and is also taking the SD seriously so for now I’m going to continue to travel between our houses.  Shamila also has her elderly parents (who live locally) to consider and staying fit and keeping my weight down may become an issue if any restrictions are made on leaving our homes (like in Spain and Italy).  I also have to shop and get my drugs from the chemist. 

I also have my 2 adult sons to think about.  I don’t see them much but they are never far from my thoughts.  My youngest son, Chris lives locally with his girlfriend and is supposed to be getting married on 10 April followed by a honeymoon to the USA.  I think he’s resigned to the honeymoon being cancelled off but the wedding?  Mmmm. I’m not so sure what he thinks but If I was a betting man (which I am) I’d wager it’s just going to happen either.  Thankfully he’s a level-headed and philosophical, I’m sure he’ll be ok.

My other son, Michael lives in Lowestoft in the East of England.  It’s fairly close to Norwich but it like the back of beyond. It’s a pain in the arse for me to get to either by road or public transport.  He’s lived there coming up 3 years and to my shame I’ve only been to see him once (actually it’s not true – I took him down to try and find him accommodation before he moved there.  In my defence I managed to find him a house though).  I’ll put it on my post retirement to-do list but in the mean time I’d rest a lot easier in my bed if he came home but he’s having not of it.

So that’s the scene and off we go.


Thursday, 2 January 2020

First work day of the year

2020's going well so far. 1 day at work and now 3 days off.  Yay!

Met up with my mate Andy for a pint (3 pints of Worthington Ale to be precise) at the Wellington in Wolviston, a very nice pub just outside Billingham. I hope you're enjoying the single spaces after the full stops by the way. I think they look good but it's taking quite a lot of discipline. Hopefully it'll get easier.

Not missing Facebook or Twitter and I haven't bought anything off Amazon.  Creativity wise, not so good although I'm writing this and listening to my top 50 from 1979.  It actually sounds much better than it looks.  Well I would say that wouldn't I?

Wednesday, 1 January 2020


Fuck me, the twenties. Bring on the Charleston.

So here's how I intend to go.

1.  Try to show at least one defined show of kindness (however small) per day.
2.  Fuck off Amazon, we're done. You can do all you want but I'm not.
3.  I'm also done Facebook until further notice. It could be challenging, amongst all the unadulterated       shit it is has become a hub for my social life. That said, it does feel good.
4.  Ditto Twitter as well, an utter waste of my time.
5.  No more double space after full stops. Long overdue.
6.  More blogging, I'll have more time and I need to practice my writing. A nod and a wink.
7.  More creative stuff.

Hey ho, let's go!

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

New Years Eve 2019

Oh well, at least one more post.

Has it come to this?  2020 beckons, it goes without saying I should be out pogoing and dancing and fings but I'm at Shamila's.  We had a nice takeaway pizza for tea.  I've had 2/3 of a bottle of nice French wine and 2 large gin and tonic's.  She's asleep, James Bond's on TV and I'm pretty drunk.  It's 22.19 and the (my) plan is to see the New Year in with a (large - actually make mine a v large) malt whiskey and piece of Christmas cake  (not bad).  Going to have to think of something good to do after midnight.  Certainly better than this.

Plans?  Always on New Years Eve. Got a text off Don earlier this evening ".... people have stopped caring for each other. The love and humanity have left the building", maybe it was a coincidence but I bought the book "Altruism, The Science and Psychology of Kindness" today. 

New years resolutions tomorrow.

PS How come Daniel Craig looks younger now than he did when he played Geordie in Our Friends in the North 23 years ago?

Top 10 Albums of 2019

In any normal year I'd probably have been shouting out for Undress by The Felice Brothers an album of rip roaring Americana tunes or alt folk Big Thief 's first album of the year U.F.O.F. or even In The Morse Code of Brake Light by Canadian Indie Folk band The New Pornographers. I'd be bigging up Irish folk band Lankum's, The Livelong Day, 2020 by Richard Dawson and The Avett Brothers, Closer Than Together but ultimately none of them were good enough to make the final cut.

So as follows,

Best album of 2019- Big Thief's second album of the year - Two Hands (Indie folk - USA)

Two Hands [VINYL]

Joint 2nd

Tallest Man on Earth – I Love You, It’s A Fever Dream (alt folk Sweden)
BCUC – The Healing (African rhythms - Soweto South Africa)
The Good Ones -  Rwanda, You Should Be Loved (African folk - Rwanda)
The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears (Indie Punk - Ireland)
Wilco – Ode to Joy (Americana - USA)
Bryce Dessner, Eighth Blackbird Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – When We Are Inhuman (alt folk - USA)
Better Oblivion Community Center -Better Oblivion Community Center (Indie - USA)
Fontaines DC - Dogrel (Indie Punk - Ireland)
Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (Americana - USA)

So in summary 5 for USA, 2 for Ireland and 1 each for Sweden, South Africa and Rwanda. O for UK.

Categories?  Well as the ultimate arbitrator for my list I'll say 3 Folk (of sorts), 2 Indie Punk, 2 African, 2 Americana and 1 Indie.  Which probably sums up my musical taste quite nicely as we are about to enter the '20's.  Let's hope they roar..

I'd say that is pretty much my taste in music as we are about to enter the '20's.  Let's hope they roar. So all in all 2019 has been a great year and if the pattern continues bring on 2059.

PS - Reissues/re-releases - I loved the A Certain Ratio 4 cd box set of remixes, ACR:Box.  I also bought a couple of Chess/Stax soul and quite a few rare Ska compilations.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Music - 2019 even better than 1979?

Maybe.... and unexpectedly. 

I've long lamented over the near mystical nature of the 1979 music scene where my taste moved from punk/pop new wave to post punk.  My aforementioned top 50 if 1979 is ample and definitive evidence (some might say damning evidence of poor taste) of my transition (maturing?  Nah!!!!). It was also a fantastic year for albums or LP's in  old money.  E.G.

I'm not sure my tastes have changed that much, I still just like pop music.  

According to my end of year Spotify report, I listened to 983 new artists in 2019 which must mean 983 different artists (Spotify is pretty clever but I don't see how it can know if an artist is new to me).  That said, I'm pretty chuffed with that. The general opinion of paid for music streaming services is that they are the devil but I'm not so sure. 

Maybe I'm becoming a bit heartless in my old age but isn't it just  a re-calibration of capitalism in the music industry?  If you're a musician you pay your money and you take your chance. I reckon a rough estimate would be that when I buy a CD I play it on average 3 times so if it costs £10 that's £3.33 a spin which isn't cheap.  Anyway, it just isn't my fight and I despite this argument I still buy loads of stuff. 

Yep, Spotify's fancy dan algorithms have done me proud this year.  Well that and me scouring details of new releases in Mojo, Uncut and latterly Songlines.  Oh and also checking out Paste magazine online and not forgetting painstakingly going through festival artists (this year EOTR and Twisterella).  It's not easy being this cutting edge you know?

It's been a truly wonderful year for pop music and I swear if the Rock Garden was still going the clientele would flock to the dancefloor zombie like (ala Screaming Babies/Zerox Machine) everytime the dj plays Dylan Thomas.  So here's my best 53 songs of the year (I gave up trying to cut it back any further).  I've even kindly and self indulgently included a link if you've got 3 hours 38 minutes to waste.

1.       Dylan Thomas – Better Oblivion Community Center
2.      Heart Sutra Song – Gone Beyond – Laurie Anderson etc.
3.      New Partner – Bonnie Prince Billy
4.      Forgotten Eyes – Big Thief
5.      New Partner – Tallest Man On Earth
6.      Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea – Kishi Bashi
7.      Kanougnon – Bassekou Kouyate
8.      Apple – Nel Unlit
9.      We Americans – Avett Brothers
10.   You’ll Need a New Backseat Driver – New Pornographers
11.   Jogging – Richard Dawson
12.   Chasin’ Wild Horses – Bruce Springsteen
13.   Special Announcement – The Felice Brothers
14.   Before Us – Wilco
15.   Blindfold – Martha Hill
16.   Not – Big Thief
17.   You Had Your Soul With You – The National
18.   Moonlight Motel – Bruce Springsteen
19.   More Is Less – The Murder Capital
20.   Gasoline – The Mysterines
21.   Mornings In Memphis – Justin Townes Earle
22.   Figures – Gia Margaret
23.   Where Did You Go Wrong, My Love – The Good Ones
24.   Diggin – Ohtis
25.   Gasoline – The Mysterines
26.   Five On It – Speilbergs
27.   Home Is Where The Music Is – rRoxymore
28.   747 – Bill Callahan
29.   Down In The Willow Garden – Bonnie Prince Billy
30.   Everything Crash – Prince Fatty, Big youth, George Dekker
31.   Georgia Lee – Phoebe Bridgers
32.   Use 2 Be A Romantic – Field Medic
33.   Sunglasses – Black Country New Road
34.   Vals Etter Tot Tut – Anon Egeland
35.   Give It All – Kay Greyson
36.   NGWA - Blick Bassy
37.   Gassed – Bobby Krlic
38.   Nosso Amor – Flavia Coelho
39.   Welcome – Africa Express
40.   What I’ve Been Kicking Around – The Tallest Man on Earth
41.   Everyday Apostles – Spencer Tweedy
42.   Denkilo – Constantinople, Ablaye Cissoko
43.   Young People Are The Future – The Good Ones
44.   There Is No Other – Rhiannon Giddens
45.   The River St Johns – Jake Xerxes Fussell
46.   The Modern Leper – Julien Baker
47.   Hold On – Aimee Mann
48.   La Fanmi – Lakou Mizik
49.   Back To The End Of The World – Jim James
50.   Heavy Crown – Trixie Mattel
51.   Tastes Good With The Money – Fat White Family
52.   Television Screens - Fontaines DC
53.   Evening Prayer aka Justice - Ezra Furman

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Rewind to1979

2019 has been a fine year for music, probably my best since the mythical 1979.  Quite neat mathematically (40 years) not to mention politically.  Thatcher came to power in 1979 and de Pfeffel in 2019. Jeez - not a nice thought

How great would it have been if I'd made a list of my favourite songs from 1979?  Especially if I still had the school exercise book I'd written it out in.  

Of course I did and it's only bloody turned up.  I can't imagine how much time this took me to compile but I clearly had too much time on my hands back in the day and definitely didn't have a girlfriend.  In fairness I could definitely pick a better list now but it is what it is. I seem to remember doing a C90 of (think) the Top 25 which I played joyfully to my friends.  I was never less than committed

I'm trying to find something profound to say about it.  Fuck it, here it is and a Spotify playlist give or take.

Saturday, 28 December 2019


As we hurtle towards the end of another year and another decade, it's a cliche but I find myself asking where the hell have the last 10 years gone?  Also, what the hell was I up to 10 years ago?

I could look at previous blog posts and there may be a time when I will rely on them and/or take pleasure looking back but for now I still prefer to trust my memory.  

Labour were still in government.  I couldn't have imagined that the Tories were about to grab power that they will retain until at least 2024, maybe even longer.  I'd grown increasingly dissatisfied with the policies of Blair/Brown, the Iraq war and PFI's spring immediately to mind.  

My dad died in 2008.  Little was I to know things were about to get much worse in early 2010 when my mam, a true giant of a human being died after a short and traumatic illness.  With the benefit of hindsight there's no doubt she'd been suffering in silence for a long time. I take consolation from the fact her relatively swift demise meant she lived her life pretty much to the end.  Being genuinely proud of your parents is a blessing and I was and still are a very proud son.

I had a debilitating bad back for most of the year and I became addicted to the opiate drug, tramadol.  Work was particularly shit after I took an ill-advised temporary promotion.  That promotion fucked up my work/life balance for at least 5 years.

On the positive side I got into live music again thanks locally to The Kids are Solid Gold and I attended my first EOTR.  The headliners were Explosions in the Sky, The Fleet Foxes and The Hold Steady.  More notable to me were the opening acts on the Garden Stage each day, Mumford and Sons, The Leisure Society and Whispertown 2000 all played TKASG shows around the same time in the Boro.  

So 2019 - I've had a bloody bad back again (for the last 5 months and counting) although it hasn't stopped me doing much.  I was thrilled to go to EOTR again after a 6 year absence with 2 of my best friends Sylvia and Lucy.  Big yaay for that one.  I also went to the Radio 1 Big Weekend show in Stewart Park in the Boro.  No comment on the music but it was a great Boro day as was Twisterella (see previous write up).   The Spooker Rekkids Attic shows were a constant delight, especially Goodbye Loona  from Nuremberg.  Other stand out shows were Kitty Daisy and Lewis and A Certain Ratio and a rare away fixture in Leeds to see AA Bondy.

Supporting Boro continues to be a challenge.  We narrowly missed out on the play-off's last season and we've continued to spiral downwards this season.  We're currently just above the relegation zone in the Championship but there are enough green shoots to give me confidence that we'll be ok.  

The cricket's been great.   I finally got to see England win the World Cup win in the the most breathtaking and dramatic finish imaginable and I was at Durham when Ben Stokes and Mark Wood paraded the trophy.

Arguably the end to the 3rd Ashes test at Headingly was even more dramatic, certainly to students and lovers of test cricket and me, Mike, Chris, Lore, Ian and Alex were only bloody well there to se it, weren't we!! 

Shoes off if you love Ben Stokes!

Context in cricket is everything and England winning the test kept the Ashes series alive, which was the part of the reason it was so exciting.  Alas a draw in the final test meant we failed to win back the Ashes. Close but no cigar.

Further down my pecking order of importance, me and Sham went on holiday to Jamaica again (3rd time) and a cruise around the Caribbean with day trips to Havana, the Caymen Islands and the Mexican Island of Cozumel.  Hail Shamila for indulging me.  We also visited Glasgow later in the year which was also surprisingly brilliant.

The election result was absolutely gutting, so much more so than 2010, 2015 or 2017.  The UK is at a  Girlfriend in a Coma moment.  I hope I'm wrong but in my head this time I I know its serious.  I'm still grieving and still trying to work out exactly what went wrong.  It's very lazy to simply blame Brexit and/or Jeremy Corbyn, there was more to it than that.  I might start talking about it in the New Year but for now I'd just say that apart from anything else there was an inability of huge swathes of the electorate to critically analyse the bombardment of news/adverts/and opinions we were being fed or decipher facts from lies.  

So we move on, it's now out of my hands and to be honest I just want to stop fretting about it

Work's been strangely ok, that's not to say I ever enjoy going.   As I've often said there's never been a day in 41 and a half years when I'd rather have driven/walked past the office and done something more interesting instead but maybe I've found peace and contentment very late in my career.  Our office is closing in September 2020 and I'll be moving to Peterlee.  I should be sad or more angry.  I don't fancy driving up and down the A19 but hey ho.  I'll be in the closing straight of my career and I think I can manage.

I've only got 18 months to do and I'm trying hard not to wish that time away.  It's not easy ................

Going to try and do  a couple of more posts this year.  

Adios amigos.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

The Murder Capital

It's been a shit year in some ways, politically, MFC, my general health (though I soldier on) etc. but what has been notable is the amount of great new music.  I've managed to get my arse into gear actively listening to new stuff and I've been to 2 very good festivals.  My beloved EOTR at the end of August and Twisterella  which I reviewed (no less) a few days ago.  Interesting (to me anyway) factoid - both have been nominated for the Independent Festivals In At The Ground Floor award.  Fair play, great category to be nominated in.

EOTR is of course my first love with lots of Americana/Country/Alt folk I'm generally well in my comfort zone but this years line up seemed to include a load of young shouty punk bands. Normally ouch but a couple of them were really good,  Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital, both from Dublin (not sure how that's going to pan out in the UK, post Alexander Boris dePfeffel Brexit).

Maybe more later about Fontaines DC but I was particularly taken by The Murder Capital.  The rock'n'roll thing has of course all been done time and time again but The Murder Capital were a bit different, visually at least.  Their live show was well choreographed and theatrical.  They'd clearly taken time to put it together and it was well worth the effort.  It had an intense gangland theme and they had quite a swagger.  One of my picks of the festival.

I've got the album now and after a more considered listen I'm still going with my initial instinct that they give a clear nod to Joy Division musically, especially with the bass line melodies and drum sound/patters.  Thinking of Life, Green and Blue and the brilliant Twisted Ground with a classic beautiful Hooky type bass line.  Still, very good and in truth imo preferable them to Joy Division.

The benefit of having a low readership is that there'll be no death threats for me making that comment.

On Twisted Ground - The Murder Capital

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Twisterella 2019

Very nice review of Twisterella2019 in The Morning Star.  Hail!  I never get sick of reading stuff like "Middlesbrough as a town is buzzing. It feels like something is happening".  I wish I could agree mind. 

I last attended Twisterella in 2016  when I thought I'd been permanently deafened by a band called Foreignfox.   It's too late to repair my permanent tinnitus but I'm going to try protecting what hearing I have left.

As the Morning Star says this year's festival was a great Boro day.  I did a fair bit of pre-festival swotting up on Spotify (it's the only way).  Fail to prepare and prepare to fail and all that and it came good.  I had a big list, cut a few and then cut it some more during the day.  I then missed a couple chit chatting but I think I still saw about 10 bands/artists. It was mostly ok, some of it very good and some it was bordering on fantastic

What I really like about festivals like this though is that bands other than the headliners are limited to 30 minutes sets.  I've seen many bands over the years who I' ve enjoyed for 30 minutes, started getting weary of them by 45 minutes and then started hating when they've gone over the hour. Too much filler over thriller.

The best of the day?

I really enjoyed enjoyed local band Nel Unlit.  The club type venue (Town House) was far from perfect for them and the sound engineer must have took a deep breath when he saw them slope up with (from memory) 2 drummers, guitars, bass, saxophone/clarinet, cello, violin, a keyboard an accordion and 4 vocalists but they were still great.

I know I should change the record but it's still is all about the songs and how they are executed for me.  I love great melodies/multi vocalists/strings/lots of space/surprises and Nel Unlit deliver .  Have a listen to their last 2 singles Firefly and Apple.  They stand up alongside anything I've heard over the last couple of years both in terms of originality and musicality.  Looking forward to more and hopefully some physical releases.

Also really enjoyed hip-hop/rapper from Newcastle, Kay Greyson.  It's hard to believe it's nearly 40 years since  Grandmaster Flash and all the Sugarhill Gang stuff came out and even harder to believe the genre has remained popular pretty much ever since. It's not something I'd normally go for but I really liked "Give It All" on Spotify so I had a gentle jog the 60 feet or so along from the Town House to TSone where she'd just started her set.

What can I say?  It was rap with a little bit of Ragga "Sweet Rum Punch" was brill.  It was just the right time  for me and it felt quite refreshing, I'll definitely watch out for her playing on Teesside again.

Micah Erenberg is an artist smack bang in the middle of my comfort zone.  Canadian, a bit zany,alternative folk stylee, sort of Jeffrey Lewis (without the comics)/Langhorne Slim.  What's not to love?  He seemed genuinely surprised and thrilled with the enthusiastic largish late afternoon  audience (apparently he played at Cockermouth to about 10 people the previous night).

TheWestgarth 2 crowd certainly did the town proud and we didn't need much encouragement to join in with his choruses.  It's no wonder everybody loves playing the Boro (it's true).  Best audience I saw all day.

Special mention for Hartlepool's MT Misery who joined Micah for the second half of the set "rocking" up the sound (in a good way) as they played some very good powerful pop music including a raucous finish.  Bravo, great show!

I saw Newcastle's Martha Hill play in the Spooker Attic about a year ago (coincidentally supported by MT Misery's Andrew Smith) and was really looking forward to seeing her again at Twisterella.  Guitar/vocals backed with keyboard/cello/and drums all played sparingly is always music (excuse pun) to my ears.

Spiders, Let Me Down Easy and Blindfold are all great songs and the Boro lapped it up especially (and typically) when she announced she was going to have a pint and her first parmo after she'd finished.  I might try announcing that if I ever do the open mic again.

Just checked her Spotify and at the time of reading she has 1614 monthly listens to her songs.  Jeez, no justice.  If you get the chance to see her don't pass  I think she's got something.

I didn't fancy any of the headliners so I made  Bella Union's Pomo Poko (9pm upstairs in The Westgarth) from Norway my last band.  I'd seen them at this year's End of The Road festival, last month,ju where they were ok but just played too long for my taste (see above - probably about an hour but it felt more like 3).  Some of the songs were ok but it all was all a bit lost on the main Woods stage on a warm late Summer Sunday afternoon.

On the other hand 30 minutes in a sweaty club in Middlesbrough on a Saturday night in October was a date made in heaven.  50 somethings pogoing, doing that slamming into each other thing, somebody from the same group crowd surfing.  Oh dear!

I'm only joking, I'm not going to dis it.  It was all very entertaining ('with' rather than 'at') as were the band.  I've since had another listen to Pom Poko on Spotify.  Mmmmm. in fairness they were better live.  I enjoyed them but twice is probably enough.

So that was it.  Another super successful Twisterella  and long may the event continue.  Big shout out to the organisers/promoters/venues and the 1500 people that turned up.  And cheers to Morning Star for nice words about Boro.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

So what's the word then - again?

Wrote my last post with trepidation.  Think I've actually forgotten how to write anything more than 280 characters.  In fairness I don't think I ever really worked out what or how much to tweet or when to like/reply/re-tweet etc.

I've just checked, I tweeted 203 times in about 3 and a half years.  Wish I'd stopped at 200.  Think I could have left it at that, I love round numbers and all that but 203?  I dunno...... as I said I'm off Twitter for now anyway.  I just hope my 68 followers will be ok without me.

By the time anybody joins me here it should all be running as sweet as a nut.  Just re-learning how to do all the sidebars and stuff.  I knacked it all up last year and couldn't work out how to put it right but I think I've sussed it all out.

Think that'll do for tonight.  Will just leave you with the Avett Brothers and We Americans from their  wonderful new album Closer Than Together.  I'm a sucker for truth and honesty.

 It's given me an idea about maybe writing a song about Captain Cook's exploits in New Zealand.  Might try it out at an open mic night or something.  Probably not in the Boro though.


What can I say?  That was quite a break but I'm back and I'm going to have little trial "writing stuff up" on my blog as part of a making better use of my "Twitter time".  I estimate (very roughly) I've been spending about 2 hours a day on Twitter (and increasing), most of which is non-productive.  I always start with the idea of picking up my latest news but then invariably meander into the comments which then leads to all the bickering/arguments/insults.  Anybody on Twitter (and if you don't fall into this trap you're a better man/woman than I) must know what I'm on about. It just brings the worst out in people including me to be honest.  I don't argue/bicker/throw insults but I'm sometimes only half a click away from doing so.   

Anyway, I've deleted the App from my phone and am going to delete it from my computers once my current conversations are over and I'm off Twitter until the end of the month.

So, 2019 eh?  Actually nearly 2020.  Jeez...  and nearly 14 years blogging!  Ha ha, hardly!  I hear anybody who's followed any of this drivel before.  Apart from the odd sojourn I haven't posted regularly for years but feel free to trawl through the archives on Blogger and Live Journal.   

I rarely look back myself.  The personal bits (from memory lots of it) just make me sad. I was relatively youthful and full of energy when I started blogging and precious people I talked about are now no longer with us.   That said, on the 3rd January 2006 as part of my new year's resolution I said, 

"Firstly, I thought I'd have a go at this journal thing. I don't think I'm a brilliant writer or anything but I do have interests, theories and opinions on plenty of subjects so I might as well write them down. If nothing else it will act as a record of my thoughts until I grow tired or become too lazy to fill it in."

So here I am in 2019 obviously older.
Wiser? - maybe.  
Have I still got interest, theories, opinions about everything?  - yep.  
Is it worth writing down?  I think it is.  
Can I be bothered?  Let's have a go and see, at least for a short while.  I can always pad it out with a few photos.