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|Thursday, October 13th, 2011|
|Monday, August 1st, 2011|
I've been at Lord's quite a bit lately; got given Middlesex membership for Christmas, and have worked it hard.
On Saturday up in the Compton stand (primitive facilities, great view) I was sat in front of three professors - one emeritus, one visiting and one local tenured. They hardly stopped yakking all day, and quite a lot of it was interesting.
The emeritus seems to be a big cheese at UCL law faculty, specialising in family law. "I won't be here tomorrow, I have to give a talk to the Initiation Society".
"Oh, what's that?"
"It's a meeting of mohels (sp? ?) who perform the bris (sp?). I give them a talk in favour of circumcision from the secular point of view of the Rights of the Child".
Puzzlement from the other profs - "I'd like to see your position on that, it looks a bit counter-intuitive to me". etc. He promised to send them his paper, and I was left puzzled too. I suppose there's the hygeine issue and the "not standing out in the community" but I wouldn't say that trumped the medical ethics of performing unnecessary surgery. But to a lawyer perhaps that doesn't apply because the mohels aren't medical personnel so medical ethics aren't applicable? I dunno.
Same day but later - "Of course David Gower took law for a year at UCL. His first year exam results were two 19s and three 18s. I was the only lecturer who even knew he was a cricketer, he'd played a few games for Leicestershire, so I gave him a pep-talk saying that if he knuckled down and passed his resits he could get a position with a solicitor's in Leicester and they'd give him every summer off to play; they'd enjoy the cachet. He replied that by the time he was 23 he'd be captain of England."
The next day emeritus was absent mohelling, but the others rabbitted on, one about his last week in Paris - " You wouldn't find a street in London named after a sociologist.."
I held my tongue for about a second, then turned round and said "There's a street in Thamesmead named after Richard Titmuss", as indeed there is.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Titmuss
Give the guy his due he laughed.
|Monday, April 11th, 2011|
|Bob slowly morphs into Nixon
I suppose he might have known that his trip to China would be viewed as grotesque and might cause people to think longer and harder about their attitudes toward the place, but I don't think so; just mischief and perhaps senile incomprehension.
This place http://xrrf.blogspot.com/2011/04/dylan-keeps-chinese-government-happy-at.html
is good on it, and on lots of other things.
This comment on the Spectator's approval is neat, too -
Robin Carmody said...
Hard to work out who it would have seemed most unlikely for the Spectator to defend in 1966: Bob Dylan or the Chinese state. The fact that it now defends both in one go does rather sum up how much all three embody the worst of all worlds.
|Sunday, March 6th, 2011|
|Something new every time
Did you ever think the transcript of a House of Lords debate would be worth any attention at all?
Here's one - http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld/ldtoday/05.htm
Not sure the link will last - it's
Live Music Bill [HL]
Moved By Lord Clement-Jones
The LondonJazz site snarks - "Don't mention the war ...etc... but it's very noticeable that it's the Incorporated Society of Musicians rather than the Musicians Union which appears to be making the running on this one."
|Wednesday, November 10th, 2010|
|Roll Over Mrs Goggins
Tell Reggie Bevins the news..
So there I am in the sub-post-office this morning dispatching dozens of jiffy bags loaded with cut-price lingerie when there enters a lady with pushchair/baby brandishing a form. Pat the postmaster (yes, really. Pat Patel) asks who filled it in for her and suggested she bring it to his office. She doesn't understand much English. He determines she's Turkish and says "Come with me, the people in the cafe next door are Turkish, they'll translate and get this sorted out. Dxxx, look after the baby for a minute." So they go to the cafe, and I coo at the baby. Baby is fine. Form is filled in and sorted.
I understand this level of service is not common in larger post offices.
|Saturday, September 18th, 2010|
|Is someone sabotaging Amazon?
As someone who has purchased or rated Debussy: La Mer (Cambridge Music Handbooks) by Simon Trezise, you might like to know that Code Vagnon de la VHF marine et du SMDSM : Préparation au Certificat restreint de radiotéléphoniste - CRR is now available.
|Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010|
Given the choice now, would you rather watch, on the telly, England v Algeria, or go down to the QEH to see Van Dyke Parks?
fx demoniac cackling
|Friday, May 14th, 2010|
|As promised - waffle political and other
The icon is nicked from John Holbo/Belle Waring link to a blog called "Dood in Ecstacy" - Dutch pre-war murder novel covers. Which, I recall, I sent to Elly ages ago.
Holbo's flickr stream has a lot of pulp covers http://www.flickr.com/photos/jholbo
and most of the SF ones moulder even now in our attic.
His site is quite good too because you can find this link to download free his Plato book -
(""Reason and Persuasion" asks the question philosophers and non- philosophers have been asking each other, and themselves, from the start: why should I listen to you?")http://issuu.com/jholbo/docs/reasonandpersuasion
and for a fortune "Squid & Owl"http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2009/12/squid-and-owl-the-book-take-two.html
Now, politics, did you see Chris Addison on HIGNFY yesterday? So wise for one so young. All the people regretting voting LibDem - what did you think you were voting for for goodness' sake? Politicians stand for office to achieve office. In office they try to do stuff. The difference between being in office and not being in office is total. Politicians will negotiate as effectively as they can (something they have been practicing all their lives) to get into office. This is more-or-less a definition of politics. It beats civil war hands-down.
My family was quiet solid Labour; my father through the union got payday put back to Thursday night to make shopping less of a weekend hassle, and he also got the Electricity Board pension scheme improved. The union also monitored health and safety (he was dealing with massive transformers stepping power down from 11 000 volts to 240 in substations often in dead of night).
The NHS kept my mother alive for a while; she must have spent a year in hospital between 1952 and 1956 when she carked it. I don't know if she would have been covered without an NHS but an eye-opener in this regard is (of all people) David Owen's memoirs. He grew up the son of a GP in Wales just after the war, and he describes the founding of the NHS and the stream of women (the men were already more-or-less covered by a penny subscription subsidised by the Ministry of Labour I think, purely to keep them at work) who'd been carrying really ghastly conditions for dozens of years and previously just couldn't have afforded to get them seen to.
The Tories' opposition to the NHS at the time, as I understand it, wasn't the one the Germans took - "let's dash for private-sector growth and maybe after a few years we'll be able to set up better welfare services than we would if we siphoned off investment money to do it right now" - it was just instinctive opposition from a class base.
So we were Labour. The family over the road were Tories - the father was a docker, they saw things differently, had different priorities. The son, a couple of years older than me, was a good mate, very sensible and had great ears for music, introduced me to the good Buddy Holly tracks (Tell Me How, Well All Right etc) in 1958, Chuck Berry shortly after, and obscure soul records by 1961. He was one of the first Mods from Hornchurch Grammar, but we fell out shortly after his 21st when he started boasting about spitting at Indians in the street. Oh well.
Meanwhile, off to school, unthinking imperialist Toryism from the army brats and other jetsam washed up there. The whole thing was alien, I thought it was me. But then the 60s started and I drifted fashionably leftward with the flow, ending up middle-of-the-road Labour again, aided by a perception of the Tories as by no means noblesse-oblige toffs but more a bunch of greasy chancers. Michael Frayn was the journo du jour in the early 60s and his top creation was Christopher Smoothe, Minister for Chance and Speculation. Rang true to me.
And at this provincial grammar school (that is now the top-performing grammar school in the country by the cunning expedient of trawling China for brilliant boys who are enticed to board in the school and whizz up the A level tables. The advantage to the ratepayers of Essex is obscure but it's a wheeze that Christopher Smoothe would be proud of) by the time we got to the 6th form there was a spectrum of half-baked political attitude that the "Literary and Debating Society" gawdelpus hashed over week after week. The obvious Tories became circuit judges, property millionaires etc, but they weren't chancers, they were decent blokes. The one chap who ended up in chokey for dishonesty was a "socialist". We even had Liberals, one or two "at a time when it was neither popular nor profitable". (One was a Bowen-Colthurst, which name resonated with me at the time but it took me many years to recall the circs. Trivia research was hard before the internet.)
So Tories and Liberals weren't monsters, they just saw the world through a different set of priorities and if I'd come from where they had, who knows? And by '64 I'd bought some Dylan records, and my O-level Latin master outed himself as a quasi-Commie and regularly took the piss out of me for what "my" government was up to.
I had a posh uncle, well, he acted posh, he was a Welsh engineer, he'd married my mum's younger sister and lived in Stonehouse Glos, and when I was 18 and Wilson had just got in my dad and I went down there for a couple of days and I met my first tribal Tory. He described the Wilson government, largely sober-suited war-veterans, having a hard time with a majority of 3 (one of whom was Woodrow bloody Wyatt) as "mob-rule". And he meant it.
My first serious girlfriend's mother was also a tribal Tory but she was in it for small "c" reasons - meet safe like-minded people who wouldn't challenge her attitudes. Social stratification was much more rigid outside real London, and her roots were in Gidea Park. She'd never met a working-class person who hadn't at least metaphorically doffed his cap.
So through sick and sin, I've more or less stayed middle-of-the-road Labour in knee-jerk response. I'll instinctively take working-class strikers' sides because I know that people don't strike for trivial reasons no matter what the media say. And the boring bread-and-butter stuff like a £400 winter heating allowance for over-75s and indeed a minimum wage would never have been passed by any other party so I'm for that. However I'm against starting wars. That really does seem beyond the pale. So I went LD because we have an ego-barmy LD MP who doesn't want the local A & E to close and doesn't want another war to start.
And short of some sort of epiphany, which I'm not sure I'd welcome because Occam would tell me it would be a sign of a catastrophic decrease in capacity, that's where I shall stay.
I was thinking about all this last night and I'm sure the whole point I wanted to make has either been lost or just forgotten. It doesn't deeply matter; the way we deal with people and situations day-to-day is rarely a function of our political position. Unless we're N Griffin, I suppose, but maybe not even then.
Ah, that was it. The first leaders' debate. No, of course I didn't watch it. But the bit right at the beginning, extremely telling. The three stooges shuffle onto the stage and Brown immediately descends into the audience trying to glad-hand them. Clegg makes to do the same, but Cameron makes a small tug on his sleeve to stop him.
Now Cameron 10 years ago was the PR man for ITV when ITV was welshing on its deals with the Football League and Cameron was incredibly evasive and indeed downright dishonest. To this day he's distrusted by the City because of it. Inept greasy chancer. But that little move suggested to me that underneath even Cameron could be a decent bloke; it saved Clegg from looking an utter twerp. So let's give it a go, eh?
|Wednesday, April 28th, 2010|
|Friday, May 29th, 2009|
|Tell Me A Story
Way back when I first got broadband and hadn't yet found WFMU I was casting around for web radio stations. I came upon one named KPIG out of Texas which played what I suppose you'd call alt-country. KPIG as it was has disappeared, if you google it now it's in California playing similar but worse stuff.
Anyway, I was greatly taken by a couple of records - a live version of Slaid Cleves' "Breakfast in Hell" and a studio version of James McMurtry's "Choctaw Bingo". This was 8 years ago.
And last week I found 'em again. Except it was a live "Choctaw Bingo" and a studio "Breakfast".
Still good. Lots of words. I'll put the blog links here rather than point directly to
r**Sh*re or M**load, in case the Journal police pounce.http://dogl-freeformfarm.blogspot.com/2007/10/slaid-cleaves.html http://dogl-freeformfarm.blogspot.com/2007/10/james-mcmurtry-heartless-bastards.html
Tonight I have been mostly downloading Egberto Gismonti, 18 albums, accessed via this wonderful but ugly aggregatorhttp://chewbone.blogspot.com
A 1 Gb disc now costs £70. That holds a lot of Egberto
|Saturday, April 18th, 2009|
I didn't hear "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones until way after I'd heard it by Soft Cell. I'm not sure it was even released in the UK in the 60s.
I don't think much of it either way, though it's a funny song to give a 19-year-old black girl to sing. It was written by Ed Cobb, who was leader of the "Four Preps" in the late 50s/early 60s. They had several preppy hits and one great B side the name of which eludes me, the A side was "Big Man". They also recorded "More Money for You and Me," a rather brilliant parody record, but I digress. (Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" was similarly weird but she was more grown up. But I digress.)
The Gloria Jones record I did know was "Heartbeat", a double-sided thumper which came out on Capitol here for Christmas 1965. And very pleased I was to pick up the album
Bah, it doesn't display the piccy.
This is the album - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GloriaJonesComeGoWithMe.jpg
for £1.50 in 1972. The "Heartbeat" on the album is a single unfaded 4 minutes 30 seconds of joy.
In 1973 I had a decent reel-to-reel recorder and access to Camden public libraries so when I saw a Gloria Jones album had come out on Motown I ordered it from the library, recorded it and thought it brilliant.
It's the one reel-to-reel (out of 2000+) I intended to get down from the loft and load onto the computer.
But I googled "Gloria Jones" "Share My Love" about 30 minutes ago and a veritable cornucopia showed up including, morphic resonance fans, the fact that "Share My Love" has just come out on CD.
And it's all over YouTube, officially. And it's as good as I remember it, if not better.
This is the title track - a couple of slight skips at the beginning -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1QLranasnw&feature=related
She has loads of tracks from the album up on YouTube and a couple of lipsynchs to "Heartbeat"
and one live version which is rather a revelation.
Wikipedia says "Heartbeat" was recorded before "Tainted Love". I have always thought the 1964 recording date for "Tainted Love" was a bit unlikely, the recording technique sounds as if it was a little later and also the song's lyrics sound a bit creepy now, and would have been very creepy indeed for 1964.
This guy - http://everything2.com/title/Tainted%2520Love
reckons, and he seems sure of himself, that Cobb first offered the song to the Standells (which must have been 1966 or 7) and they didn't like it so " Ed Cobb took the song and recorded it with an R&B singer named Gloria Jones and it was released in 1968 on the Champion label."
And it is on Champion, here's a label shot - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktiguw5e8AY&feature=related
whereas the album I have from 65-6 is on Uptown. If "Tainted Love" had already been recorded and released I'd have expected it to have gone on the album, it has a good dance sound it's just the lyrics that put me off and the damn album has only 10 tracks, doesn't last half an hour.
A lot of fuss over a song I don't like.
Cobb has more history than his Wikipedia entry of course; Lincoln Mayorga played piano on the Preps' records and he & Cobb formed the Piltdown Men, recorded Ketty Lester's "Love Letters", and in the late 70s formed Sheffield Labs which specialised in direct-to-disc recording.
There's more to Gloria Jones, too, of course. Her later, post-Bolan, albums I don't think are up to much. She's not to be confused with the older Gloria Jones from the Blossoms/Cookies/Raelettes, and I think there's a third Gloria Jones too.
|Thursday, October 23rd, 2008|
|Tuesday, October 7th, 2008|
|Out and About again
Redundancy-induced enforced leisure meant that Thursday morning at 10.30 found me at the new Kings Place venue, up York Way from Kings Cross. To see two 45-minute concerts by Abram Wilson, a trumpeter from New Orleans who now lives in London.
(He looks like a shorter Paul Ince - with a shiny mullet). The first show was an exploration of the music in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, and the second a recital of Louis Armstrong standards of (mostly) the 20s.
It used to be rare for black artists to perform the "heritage" repertoire, apart from the Preservation Hall setup which was half-white anyway, but lately there's been that all-black banjo band and a couple of other examples that currently evade me.
Anyway, Wilson was pretty good. It takes some nerve for a trumpeter to schedule a concert for 10.30 in the morning, but his lip seemed pretty secure as he tootled around some ragtime parlour favourites accompanied half the time by a "straight" piano player and the other half by Peter Edwards (?) who was pretty good. He opened, unwisely, with a version of "Flight of the BumbleBee" that had a few fluffs and unwanted elisions.
The Armstrong set followed on - it takes some nerve for a trumpet player to schedule 2 45-minute concerts for a weekday morning - with Edwards and a bass player and drummer whose names I didn't catch. The usual problem with modern players doing the 20s repertoire is that they can't avoid throwing in modern harmonies. Wynton Marsalis' album of Jelly Roll Morton stuff is full of it; English trad bands make a better fist of this material because they don't have the harmonic sophistication. Anyway, Wilson and band obviously can play outside these songs, but they manage pretty well to avoid doing so, and it's all the better for it. A very good cheerful set that held the attention. Nice short pieces.
It's invidious to judge on the basis of these two uncharacteristic performances, but it seemed to me that Wilson doesn't yet have his own fully-formed sound. He's pretty good, plays with humour and swing, keeps things moving along nicely, it's just that he's not got a unique voice yet.
Oh, and the venue is great. Two good concert halls - we went en masse Sunday night to hear a harp quartet - decent gallery space, cheap cafes, decent signage, plenty of staff. And it was packed, Thursday morning and Sunday night. I'd not expected that, it seemed a terrible risk and I wasn't sure there'd been enough publicity. Shows what I know.
|Monday, May 12th, 2008|
|Thursday, April 10th, 2008|
There's a school of thought that says that Cilla Black's version of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" is better than Dionne Warwick's because it's more credible.
Warwick sounds like someone who knows that it would be no surprise if the love of her life would suddenly just leave. Black sounds like a bellowing schoolgirl caught totally on the hop.
Anyway, this from the Jazz list -
(caught Shelby Lynne at the State Theater Monday; she got her record
company to press vinyl records. yeah. mmm c'mon. When she came out I
wasn't sure if she wasn't drunk and hadn't forgotten the words to
"Just a Little Lovin'" The longest pause. Then the chorus. Just get
the damn record, ok? Even if you don't like Dusty Springfield. Or at
least check out:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuaHN1p8F9E
Is that a Thorens?)
|Thursday, January 31st, 2008|
|Thursday, November 1st, 2007|
|Saturday, October 13th, 2007|
|Everything but the Tail and the Oink
We've always been a bit leery about going on long weekends to Eastern Europe. Budapest was great, highly recommended, but our fairly-undemanding dietary demands appeared incompatible with the signature dishes of those former outposts of Stalin's empire.
We'd even formulated a shorthand for dismissing these places - "it'll be all pig's knuckle and rancid cabbage".
Well, last Thursday we went to hear the London Gypsy Orchestra at this Romanian restaurant in Old Bailey. Proudly on the menu - Pork Knuckle & Beans.
We had the fish.
The place was packed, very heterogenous collection of folks, very good house wine, and the Gypsy Orchestra was pretty damn good. A few too many inaudible violins, a 23-piece band and the trumpeter couldn't stay in tune, but the vocals were dead good. Highly recommended for less than a tenner entry. I doubt they were on union scale.
This weekend I'm on call (fx - cash register) after spending all last week on the first course ever after 6 years in this job - Fund Management for Dummies. So how come I'm still broke? Current Mood: tired
|Saturday, July 21st, 2007|