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>JBT at the MA (T – 7)

12 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  James Brown – Live at the Apollo

A busy few days, what with Son No 2 staying over, cat and tree issues and a host of other stuff going on.

So where to start?

Well, let’s start with the football.  No, not the professional stuff, the real grass roots stuff.  Matt and I went along to see my nephew, Ross (11) playing for his team, Vauxhall, against Heswall.  Now Ross has always been a good little footballer, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen him play and I have to say that he and his team have come on in leaps and bounds as they’ve grown up.  Quite a few of the kids are on the books of some professional clubs as well as playing for Vauxhall, and it shows.  Their ball control is superb, as is their ability to spot (if not always find) a decent pass.  After a cagey first fifteen minutes or so, they gradually got a grip on the game, eventually winning 5-0 with Ross scoring the fourth.

On Saturday, Matt and I went into Manchester for a bit of shopping and eating, and then to the Academy to see the John Butler Trio.  A full review will appear soon on The Really Hip Art Scene (now here), when Matt gets round to it, and I’ll add my two pennorth on the Word website later today (also now up and running).  In brief, however, it was a great, lengthy (two and a half hours!) set from a band who are totally in control of their instruments and who have a decent set of tunes to work from.  A lot rockier than last time I saw them, reflecting the style of the new album, they still found time for two (count ’em!) drum solos, a (slightly reluctant) bass solo and a lot of audience singingalonging.

Here’s a clip of John performing ‘Ocean’ – one of the most beautiful – and technically challenging – guitar pieces you are ever likely to hear.

I struggle to work out just what sort of audience John Butler has in the UK.  They are massive in his native Australia, of course, but in the UK is profile – on the face of it – seems quite low.  I don’t recall the band getting any measurable coverage in the music press, for example.  And yet – both times I’ve seen them in concert – they’ve had a sell-out audience that has been, if not fanatical, very vocal in its appreciation of the band and its music.

As for Saturday’s audience, well I suspect Matt will have his own views on this, but I thought they were for the most part, engaged, good-natured and high-spirited.  I did have the misfortune to be stood behind Mister Floppy Head, however – possibly the most ill-coordinated and arrhythmic dancer I have ever come across.  Dancing to whatever he was hearing in his own head, it bore no relationship to the beats being generated on stage at all.  In fact, I would hazard that it was actually harder for him to dance the way he was than to actually follow the beats of the songs.  Sadly, I also think there was no chemical enhancement involved either – perhaps there needed to be.

Still, a great night out.  If you get the chance to see (or hear) the John Butler Trio – you should.  Special mention for support act ‘The Boy Who Trapped The Sun’ as well – one man, two guitars, a lady cellist and a bottle of red wine.  And some lovely songs (that you can find on iTunes).  Well worthy of your attention.

In other news, we took in a few films over the last few days as well.  Pride of place goes to Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, which we enjoyed hugely.  I am told that Law Abiding Citizen was also most entertaining, although I wouldn’t know as I fell asleep halfway through, victim of my nocturnal adventures trying to rescue the cat.  Finally 2012 was highly enjoyable tosh, mainly through seeing the special effects on the Big Telly rather than through any particular depth in the plot.

James Brown on the soundtrack today.  We’ve not done ‘ten best live albums’ on the blog yet, but if and when we do, Live at the Apollo will surely be there or thereabouts.  A great album that catches James at his most vibrant and soulful – the funk would come later.

Please Please Please – with the cape and the histrionics – Yeeeeou!

Categories: James Brown, John Butler, Matt, Ross

>Of cats and trees (T – 10)

9 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Ok, so I’m writing this at just after eight o’clock in the morning and I’ve already been awake for five hours.

Picture the scene.  Son No 2 is staying with us for a few days, and the cat has taken exception to this fact.  With no good reason – Matt has barely seen the cat since he’s arrived, but it’s enough for Pedro that there is another human being in the house.

He’s got the hump, basically.

To the extent that he’s keeping out of the house as much as possible – including through the night, although he has deigned to cross the doorstep in the early morning if bribed with food and cat milk.

Anyway, this morning I woke up at around three and went to check at the back door.  No sign.  So back to bed, where I tossed and turned until around half four, when I thought I’d give it another go.  Still no sign – but a faint yowling could be heard on the breeze.

So I’m at the bottom of the garden, barefoot in the dew, dressing gown on.  Yes, definitely a plaintive cat cry.

Back upstairs, clothes on, torch.  Mrs W behind me in dressing gown and training shoes.  Down the bank at the bottom of the garden we crawl, around past the neighbour’s garden, to the foot of a big bank of leylandii.  A very big, very tall bank of leylandii.

And there he is, right at the top.  Yowling.

So I’m trying to climb this tree, in the pitch dark, Mrs W holding a torch below.  Not a chance.

We leave him there, and wait until daybreak.  Mrs W goes back to bed – work in the morning.

Half past six, I’m there, now armed with our longest stepladder.  All six foot’s worth of it.  Clambering up the bank around the back of the trees, I can finally see him, and by climbing up to the toppermost rung on the precariously-balanced ladder, I can actually touch him.

But I can’t dislodge him, or pick him up.

Plan B.  Scrambling round to the other side of the tree, I can see a gap in the foliage to the flat top of the trunk, which has obviously been lopped in the past.  The place Pedro had been perched when I last spotted him.  I find that I can balance the end of the ladder on the top of the stump and support the bottom of the ladder myself, thus creating a walkway for Pedro to stroll casually into my waiting arms.

Does he do this?  Does he buggery.  Instead, he backs away and perches precariously onto one of the highest, flimsiest branches left on the tree.

Now bear in mind the tree is actually growing right on the edge of a vertical bank.  On one side of the tree, the drop to ground is probably around ten feet.  On the other side, the drop must be nearer thirty feet.

Guess which side Pedro is on.

Plan C.  Throwing caution to the wind, and the ladder to one side, I realise that by straddling Pedro’s tree and the one next to it, I can actually climb up to the top and get to the stump where he had been sitting.  So that’s what I do.  You now have to realise that I am therefore up in the air, one foot on one tree, the other foot on another tree, and a clear drop of about thirty feet between my legs.  But at least I’m in a position to grab Pedro if he comes back to the stump.

What I do when I’ve grabbed him, I’m less sure.

At this stage, I’m wondering if firemen do still get cats down from trees, but in the event, my thoughts and efforts are academic, because eventually the poor pussy – who is of course absolutely terrified at this stage – steps out too far and the branch he’s on can’t hold his weight.  And so, of course, he falls gracelessly to the ground below.  And gets up and trots off into the house to eat his breakfast.  Apparently, none the worse for his adventure.

Me, I’m still stuck up in mid-air straddling two trees.  At half seven in the morning.  Thinking that at the age of fifty, my tree-climbing days should be well behind me.

Anyway, a couple of restorative coffees later, and having got this out of my system, I now need to shower because I smell like a midden and ache like a bastard.  In the meantime, the cat has eaten, washed and gone to sleep at the back of Mrs W’s wardrobe.

I’m too old for this.

Categories: Matt, Pedro

>Word Travels Fast! (T – 17)

2 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Porcupine Tree – Staircase Infinities

After one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages, woke up ready for a trip into Manchester to meet up with Kevin and some of my old mates from the old job.  But first, off to the Supermarket to stock up for the Easter break.  Big trolley to shove all the chocolate eggs into – right next to the booze and calories, natch.  A relatively straightforward shop, albeit augmented by Mrs W’s quick waltz round the clothes section.  Still, don’t have to watch the pennies quite so much now!

Then off into Manchester, and to the old firm’s offices.  Bumped into a few people outside, who congratulated me on the new job, word obviously having got round quickly!  Nice to be able to answer truthfully when people ask me how it’s going – the days of the brave face and the ‘it’s all ok, really’ platitudes are past.  It really is ok now.

Then to Giraffe with Kevin, for a tasty burger and Red Stripe.  We put the world to rights for a good hour or so before going back to the office where I met up with Anne-Marie for congratulations and hugs.  It’s good, this going back to work lark.  For some reason I got to kiss lots of women as a result!

So.  I’m in Manchester.  No longer watching the pennies, and Fopp just up the road.  What’s a boy to do?

Half an hour later, I emerged with the new Joanna Newsom, Them Crooked Vultures, the new Jimi Hendrix release and a few Traffic albums from the early seventies.  One of which I already own.  Don’t you just hate it when you buy something you’ve already got?  Or is it just me that does it?  It only cost me three quid, at least.

Back home, and a quick text to Matt, who has been spending the week in hospital having his radiotherapy treatment following his throat operation last year.  This has been far less of an ordeal, boredom being the primary concern rather than any specific medical issues.  You can read about his experiences here.

After a big lunch, there was no need for a massive tea so we had the remnants of last night’s (home-made) pizza alongside some potato skins and chicken bits.  Watched the end of Supernatural series 3 and – of course – caught up on Masterchef.  The six contestants reduced now to five following the departure of Terry, who may well cause himself serious self-harm as a result.

Simon reminded me yesterday that the guitar playing hasn’t had a mention in a while and, if truth be known, it did go a bit quiet for a bit.  Having said that, I have been picking up both the bass and my six-string more often on the past week or two and enjoying every minute of it.  Although my fingers hurt as a result.  Not a virtuoso by any means but still enjoying the tinkering!

One man who probably can lay claim to the title of virtuoso is Steven Wilson, driving force behind the horribly-named Porcupine Tree, who actually produce a very acceptable blend of Proggy hard rock.  Staircase Infinities is a half hour of nicely melodic, guitar-driven rock that is extremely pleasant to have on in the background.

Categories: fopp, Kevin, Matt, Porcupine Tree

>The Rather Hip Art Scene

10 March, 2010 Leave a comment

>The Rather Hip Art Scene is a new website, set up by The Boy and a couple of his mates in Huddersfield, covering music and events in the Leeds-Sheffield-Manchester triangle.

I suggest you have a look – it is really rather good.

http://ratherhip.wordpress.com/

>Never one to shirk a challenge…

23 February, 2010 1 comment

>So here’s the thing.  Matt has a University project that requires him to name/discuss his ‘all time top ten favourite records’.  Not an easy project, and actually whittling down his favourites to a top ten has proven difficult.  I, of course, have put my oar in and have, in turn, been challenged by him to “make a list of your all time top ten favourite records… Not records you think should be on there (Dark Side, OK Computer, Sgt. Peppers etc) but your actual favourite ten albums. Warts n’ all.”

Warts n’ all, indeed.

So here goes.  In pulling this list together, I have set a few ground rules for myself which I think are important.

Firstly, no compilations, no box sets, no ‘Greatest Hits’.  Only albums that were recorded, and intended, to exist as a single artistic statement.

Secondly, no more than one album per artist.  Otherwise there are a couple of artists who might dominate, and I want to present a spectrum of music to you.  And if these are the ten albums that I have to take to my desert island, I will want the variety.

Also, these are not necessarily the albums I play most.  Mainly because for most of them, every note, every word, is already seared into my brain – I don’t have to play them to appreciate them, they are already hard-wired into my consciousness.

Finally, this is today’s list.  Tomorrow’s list would – almost certainly – look (and sound) completely different.

Anyway, this is the list I gave Matt.  In no particular order;

1. Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan

Even now I’m wavering.  No Clash, no Hendrix, no Zeppelin?  Nothing from the Atlantic or Stax labels?  No reggae – no Bob Marley?  Revolver or Rubber Soul?  Or Abbey Road?  Painted From Memory rather than This Year’s Model or Imperial Bedroom?
Well, the list is what it is.  And now to put some flesh on the bones – over the next few days let’s try and articulate just why these ten made the cut….
Categories: Matt, top ten records

>Travellin’ Blues

19 December, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Hindu Love Gods – Hindu Love Gods

Phew, what a week that was!  So much to talk about, we might have to split this blog over a couple of days.  I might even revert to daily postings over the Christmas break.  Or I might get a life instead – who can tell?

Firstly, the important stuff.

Matt was in hospital for six days in total, they let him out on Wednesday in the end.  After optimistic predictions of a Monday release were dashed (to his great disappointment) things moved on steadily until he was able to make good his escape.  I believe there is a half-dug tunnel behind one of the gent’s toilets, if any current inmates are interested…

I got to see him on Sunday, when he was still in some discomfort and the drains from his neck were still draining steadily – and a lack of sleep was making him probably feel even worse than he was anyway.  But by Tuesday, when I got over for my final visit, the ‘old’ Matt back was again, one of the drains was out and the other was likely to follow imminently.

The body is a marvellous thing – cut it up, take bits out – but give it a couple of days and it steadily makes itself better, re-routing fluids and joining ends of cut flesh back together again.  Let’s hope the self-healing process continues – with a bit of a nudge from the radiation in the New Year!

At the time of writing, Matt is back home, Facebooking and chilling.  Half the staples are out with the rest to follow on Monday.

Oh, and everyone who’s emailed or otherwise passed on their thoughts, prayers and best wishes for Matt – thank you all, it’s much appreciated and good to know that people – even complete strangers in some cases – have such generosity of spirit and goodwill.  You look for positives where you can at times like this, and this is certainly one of the biggest for me.

The stresses of the week were not confined to me – the car has been complaining more and more about the miles I have been subjecting it to, what with the weekly Staines run now augmented with a diversion or three to Bath.  Finally it spat its dummy out big time on the Tuesday night run to Bath and back.  An intermittent misfire now became permanent, preventing me getting above 2000 rpm and more pertinently – above 60 mph on the motorway (50 mph on any sort of uphill slope).  With my plans of nursing the car through the Staines project and getting it sorted in the New Year dashed, I had to get it fixed – and quick, otherwise I wasn’t coming home at the weekend!

So – Wednesday morning, and I’m trawling the internet for local Nissan garages.  The nearest was in Shepperton, about 15 minutes drive away (or half an hour, with the car limping along at its current pace).  My plan was to leave Staines the following lunchtime.  What were the chances of getting it booked in, diagnosed and fixed within 36 hours?  Slim to none, I assumed.

But no, thanks to the good people at West London Nissan (free plug, chaps) the car was booked in Thursday morning, checked and fixed by lunchtime and I was checked out of the hotel and on the road by two thirty.  The rapidly arriving snow, coupled with my nervousness that the ‘fix’ may prove to be temporary, caused me to change my plan to detour across and see Matt so I headed home.  And got back without incident, thankfully.

Stress levels still hovering around the ‘about to blow’ indicator, I got in to see that in my absence, two parcels had been delivered and left a) with the neighbour and b) behind the bin.  Went out to the bin.  Nothing.  Looked in the bin.  Nothing (well, a load of rubbish, but you know what I mean).  Mrs W arrives home, not to a lovely welcome, but a tirade about the potential loss of half my Christmas shopping.  Bless her, she could obviously see I was on the verge of complete and utter breakdown and resisted the temptation to punch my lights out.  Instead, she knocked on the neighbour’s door to find that not only did he have the parcel delivered directly to him, but had also taken in the parcel lurking behind the bin.  Panic over.

Mrs W then – sensibly – went out to another Christmas do, leaving me to slump in front of the telly, with drink and curry, to watch the Everton Under-11s take on the mighty BATE and slump to a creditable (but wholly irrelevant) 1-0 defeat.  It was nice to see the kids getting a runout, hopefully the experience will spur them on to fight for a regular position in the men’s team in due course.  Adam Forshaw, Shane Duffy and Jamie Bidwell caught the eye of the new starters, and the old man, Carlo Nash, looked comfortable in goal.  They might not – yet – have the stature of the Arsenal kids, but they did not disgrace themselves either.

Today’s soundtrack comes courtesy of the Hindu Love Gods, a one-off ‘supergroup’ comprising REM without Michael Stipe, but with Warren Zevon.  A drunken session of blues standards and other covers led to the album, which sounds like what it is – a group of mates relaxing (suitably refreshed) and having fun.  No classics, but ‘good time’ stuff  that brings a tap to the foot and a smile to the face.

Tell you what, you search for ‘Hindu Love Gods’ on YouTube and you get some funny stuff coming up.  What you don’t get is any drunken blues.  So let’s try something else!

Click on the DivShare player that should have mysteriously appeared below, and you’ll hear the HLG’s take on Prince’s ‘Raspberry Beret’, and very fine it is too!

http://www.divshare.com/flash/playlist?myId=9831955-995
Oh, Kev – I’ll get to the Depeche stuff over the weekend – I promise!

Categories: Car, Everton, Hindu Love Gods, Matt, rem

>Feeling Supersonic (Give me Gin and Tonic)

12 December, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Oasis (of course)


The Boy won’t be pleased about this but I’ve got to get it out of my system.  Sorry Matt.

Spent all day Friday at the hospital in Bath, waiting.

I’d arrived about half an hour after Matt went down to theatre.  A good thing, because I was having a bit of difficulty holding myself together and the last thing he needed was me fussing and fretting.  A bit of calmness from his Mum, a huge amount of maturity from him, and he was wheeled away, with me well out of it, battling the fog on the M4 and the mist in my eyes.

A nice touch on the way into the hospital, made me smile when I needed it.

“I’m looking for my son, he’s having an operation today.”
“Well, I can direct you to the childrens’ ward sir?”
“Err, no, actually he’s twenty.”
“No, you don’t look old enough sir…”

Well you get your positives where you can on a day like this, don’t you?

I tracked down the day surgery and announced my presence to the girl on the front desk, and settled down to wait.  Could be 5-6 hours, they’d said.  Nothing was going to happen for at least that time, but where else was I going to be?  100 miles away in Staines?  200 miles away up north?

So I waited.  Drank coffee and ate doughnuts.
And waited.  Read my book.
And waited.

Matt’s mum returned around four, and we sat and waited together.  Eventually some news began to filter through.

“First part of the operation finished, about two hours into the second part.”
“Getting close, about 45 minutes to go.  All seems to have gone ok.”

Then, finally, after eight hours of surgery, the news we’d been waiting and praying for.

“All finished, all fine, Matt’s going into recovery now.  You’ll be able to see him in an hour or so.”

The second surgeon came to talk to us.  Yes, it took longer than anticipated, but no complications.  Just took a while to feel their way through the Waring Fat Neck and cut out all the Bad Things.  And all the indications are that they’ve got everything they need to get out – a big lump had to be removed, some other bits and pieces – but they managed to save some of the thyroid itself and it seems all major arteries, veins and nerves escaped untouched.

If there is any Bad Stuff left, the radiotherapy should sort all that out in a few weeks’ time.

So finally, we got to see him.  He’s going to have a cracking scar – no-one’s going to mess with him round the pubs of Huddersfield, that’s for sure!  Currently stapled together pretty much from ear to ear, tubes coming from orifices old and new, but – oh thank God – awake, breathing and talking.  With a raging thirst, of course.  Oh, and sadly lacking his collection of festival wristbands – they had to come off before the operation as well!

Spent about an hour and a half with him, then left him to sleep.  Lost it a bit again on the way out, but – finally! – pulled myself together before the long drive home.

Thank God Matt had the presence of mind to realise this was something he had to see the doctor about – and that they were quick to respond and get him in as soon as possible.  Thank God for the skill of the surgeons and the care on the ward.

Matt’s still got a few hurdles to get over – not least the radiotherapy in the New Year – but this was the worst bit.  Let’s hope the New Year brings good things – not the remorseless knocks and battles that 2009 subjected us all to.

You gotta walk, don’t look back.

So today’s soundtrack.  Nothing random today – for Matt, it has to be Oasis really.  But which song?  Well there can only be one.  A song of optimism, joy and defiance.

Maybe I just want to fly
I want to live I don’t want to die
Maybe I just want to breathe
Maybe I just don’t believe
Maybe you’re the same as me
We see things they’ll never see
You and I are gonna live forever

Take care, Matt.  Thinking of you always.  Gentle shoulder charge – Love you mate.

Categories: Matt, Oasis

>Just when you think 2009 can’t get any worse…

22 November, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

…it does.*

Roll on 2010 – the sooner the better.

But since “a double dose of positive mental attitude” is the prescription, I’m not going to dwell on that topic, I’m going to stick to writing about the good, the positive.

Like Everton.

Oh wait…

Another trip to Old Trafford, another defeat.  You could argue that United’s first goal was a once-a-season special, that the third was a lucky deflection and that the scoreline didn’t reflect the play, but that would be to ignore the fact that, once again, Everton went to one of the Big Four with a game plan that put avoiding defeat ahead of anything else – a game plan that rapidly unravelled the minute Fletcher scored that goal.  It was only in the second half, when Moyes was forced to play 4-4-2, that we looked in any way threatening.

Again, roll on 2010.

A double dose of Memphis this week, with Dusty on the soundtrack (about which, more later) and with part of my hotel-based entertainment this week involving ‘The Road to Memphis’, one of the seven films making up ‘The Blues’, the Martin Scorsese-produced series about the real American folk music.  The Road To Memphis focuses on a number of performers coming together for a major performance in Memphis – long-established performers like BB King and Ike Turner, but also Bobby Rush, scratching out a living on the chitlin circuit, and the wonderful Rosco Gordon, who gave up the blues for twenty-odd years to work in a dry cleaners in Queens, and who sadly died just six weeks after his joy-filled performance on stage in Memphis with some of the greats.

How ‘Blues’ is that?

Here’s A Little Bit of Magic from Rosco.

Memphis just might be my favourite American city.  We spent a few days there a couple of years ago, courtesy of our good friend Elaine, and did the tour.

Graceland – which is as gloriously tacky as you’d expect, but also deeply moving as well.  I did have a barely controllable urge to sing a ‘ragga’ Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis’s grave (“Too much fackin’ perspective!”) but managed to resist the temptation.  I’d have probably had my lights punched out by Elaine if I’d been in any way disrespectful!

Sun Records – the place just oozes history.  The tiny studio, looking just as it must have fifty years ago, and still in use.

The Stax museum on McLemore Avenue – sadly the original Stax building was knocked down years ago, but has been lovingly rebuilt as a shrine to the home of Southern Soul.

The Peabody Hotel, Rendezvous Ribs (yummy!), the Lorraine Motel, Schwab’s department store, the Gibson guitar factory – all there and all fascinating.

And Beale Street – yes, it’s a tourist location now, and all the old bluesmen in the film bemoaned the loss of the ‘old’ Beale Street – but it’s still the best night out around.  Bands playing for change in the street and on the square – bands who would knock the socks off some of the biggest names around.  Playing for the joy of playing and for the love of the Blues.

And yes – Dusty recorded in Memphis – the incongruous blend of Soulsville and this slightly prim English rose managing to produce one of the best albums of the sixties.  Great songs, great musicians and a great soulful singer with a real feel for the music.  Apparently she was almost rendered incapable by nerves, and recorded most of her vocals one line at a time – but the end product was seamless.




*if you want to know what I’m talking about – have a read of this.

>Day 208: Not Nineteen Forever

9 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Little Man Tate – Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy (with a side order of Courteeners)

So – The Boy turned twenty today. That’s a bit of a worry that is. On two counts – firstly, I can’t conceive of my No 2 Son being anything other than a teenager…and secondly, I can’t conceive of myself being someone with two sons who are both in their twenties.

I can remember when I turned twenty – like it was almost yesterday. Living in Sheffield in a student house very similar to the one Matt lives in (albeit with no girls living in the house – that would just not have occurred to us!). Me, Alan, Steve, Big Paul and Little Paul. I recall vast quantities of drink being consumed, and some jape involving an alarm clock under my bed taped inside a biscuit tin – and bag of flour positioned over the bedroom door. None of that seemed to bother me too much – and the depth of my drunken stupor rendered the alarm clock jape pointless anyway!

I do remember we played The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ more than once – no more Teenage Kicks for Paul, you see – but I don’t remember turning twenty having any discernible impact on my life in any way – I didn’t suddenly grow up or put away childish things.

In fact, I still haven’t.

But we are Not Nineteen Forever, as the Courteeners never fail to remind us. Here you are Matt – just for you. We were in the middle of that lot somewhere…and I expect you to still be in the middle of the equivalent crush in thirty years’ time! I know I will be…

Drove over to Huddersfield today to give The Boy (can I still call him that?) his birthday presents and to run him over to Leeds to pick up a parcel from the City Link depot there. The plan was to fit in a pint or two as well, but a big holdup on the M62 put the mockers on that, and we just about got back in time for his radio show (Good Tunes For People Who Love Bad Tunes – got it right this time) on student radio, after which he was out on the splodge with his mates.

What a life eh?

Earlier in the day, I’d got the call I wanted from the recruitment agency – I’ve blown yesterday’s candidate out of the water and am still their ‘preferred candidate’ – but they are seeing one other – Friday or Monday – before moving to the next stage, involving meeting senior management and the Audit Committee. So still in there fighting.

And getting quite tense too – there’s a John Cleese quote from ‘Clockwise’ that fits exactly how I feel at the moment…

“It’s not the despair… I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

Little Man Tate playing away in the background. LMT are/were a Sheffield band who came through at the same time as the Arctic Monkeys, Milburn and Reverend and the Makers. A great little band – The Boy introduced me to them and we saw them in Liverpool a couple of years ago. After a few years of middling success, at best, they have decided to call it a day and move onto other things. Matt went to one of their farewell gigs last week – his review is here. A shame they are splitting up, they had a way with a lyric and a tune that is in short supply these days, all laced with a sly humour.

Nothing Worth Having…is their second (and final) album, and very good it is too, easily the measure of their first album, About What You Know. Both well worth seeking out.

This is ‘Hey Little Sweetie’ from ‘Nothing Worth Having…’ Naughty little girl!

>Day 201: Everton master BATE

2 October, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Stevie Ray Vaughan – The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan

Ok, I know, it’s childish and not particularly clever – especially when you know that ‘BATE’ is actually pronounced ‘bar-tay‘.

But who could possibly resist? It’s a headline writer’s dream.

And it’s also the truth – a makeshift Everton team (ten – ten! – first teamers unavailable) came back from a goal down to beat the Belorussians in a very wet and windy stadium somewhere in Minsk, I think.

How makeshift? Well, Tony Hibbert – 5′ 8″ in his stockinged feet – was playing at centre-back for the first time. That’s how makeshift. And – bless the lad – he played out of his skin as well.

As did the whole team really. We nearly took the lead when a wickedly curling shot from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov hit the post with their goalkeeper stranded, only to fall behind to a phenomenal goal – their man must have been all of thirty yards out when he hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
So 1-0 down, and on the ropes. We rallied, and probably played the better football, without ever really threatening. Second half, and we began to surrender possession to the Belorussians, and it began to look like ‘one of those nights’. But then – a free kick out to the left floated long by Leighton Baines, to a ludicrously unmarked Fellaini, who headed down and across goal into the far corner. 1-1, and game on – although I’d have settled for that to be honest.
Eight minutes later, and our man Bily played a hopeful ball

forward to Tim Cahill, who I have to say looked yards offside. Sliding in, he scooped the ball up and over the keeper into the net. Design or accident? Well, if he meant it, it was an absolutely masterful lob. But he didn’t, surely. He just got underneath it.

Anyway, no matter. He was clearly offside, wasn’t he. Wasn’t he? Not according to the officials, he wasn’t! And replays would suggest he did spring the offside trap very cleverly. Canoe-style celebrations – apparently in remembrance of the Samoan tsunami victims rather than the monsoon-like conditions the game was being played in.
So – typical Everton – having got our noses in front, it was backs to the wall with some desperate defending to play the game out. A couple of scares, but that was it – 2-1 away from home, five wins on the trot and – even better – AEK beat Benfica to cement our position at the top of the group.
A good night’s work, Blues.
Earlier today, it was out to the shops for food and stuff – and to pick up something for Son No 2’s birthday next week. Not Nineteen Forever, young man, as someone once said! Picked up what I needed in HMV – and also picked up a box set of all ABBA’s nine albums for fifteen quid. Couldn’t leave it there.
It was also eMusic download day today, so I spent most of the morning (most of the day, actually) downloading and feeding CDs into iTunes. Pick of the eMusic downloads – the Speed Caravan album was finally available (Kalishnik Love) so that was first in the queue. I blogged about these back in July, in one of my Glastonbury updates, and have been waiting for the album ever since. The new Cribs album (featuring Johnny Marr) was also there, as was the ‘Monsters of Folk’ album. With some Black Crowes and a new album by flavour of the month ‘Girl’, it was a very successful day.
Just got to find time to listen to it all now.
And while on the subject of listening, a plug for Son No 2’s radio show on Huddersfield’s student radio. 6-8pm on Thursdays, ‘Good Music for People Who Like Bad Music’ [EDIT: see The Boy’s comments below. I did know the Modest Mouse reference, of course – just too lazy to look up the title and quoted from (faulty) memory. I’m old, you know.] It’s available on the web, but is password protected so you won’t be able to listen unfortunately. I had a password, but still couldn’t get on the site for some reason so will be picking up a download file next week.
But it will be good, I promise you.
I’m typing this today into Google Chrome, Google’s new browser. After many years, I have fallen out of love with Firefox, my usual browser of choice, but which seems to have become slower and more buggy in recent months. So far, Chrome does seem to be a lot quicker and doesn’t ‘hang’ on me the same way Firefox has been doing for a while, particularly when iTunes is on in the background.
And in the background we currently have Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the greatest blues guitarists (of any colour) to surface in the last thirty years or so. Sadly no longer with us, Stevie progressed from being another Hendrix wannabe to one of the more original and tasteful guitarists around, more interested in feel and emotion than technical widdlery.
There’s plenty of clips of Stevie on YouTube doing Hendrix and Stevie Wonder covers – but here he is with the old blues classic, ‘The Sky is Crying’. Wonderful stuff.