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>Mistakes & Ladders (T – 3)

16 April, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  New Order – iTunes Originals

So where did the week go then?  As the new job comes rushing towards me, my final few days of “leisure” are racing by at a rate of knots.  At the same time, my anticipation levels are rising at a similar rate – I can’t wait to get stuck in!

At the same time, now my days at home are numbered, Mrs W has realised that there’s not much time left for me to knock off the remaining few chores that I’ve been putting off for the last year.  One of the biggest is getting some paint on the upstairs windows before the wood rots away completely.  Now bear in mind that our ‘upstairs’ windows are effectively three storeys up, above the garage and the lounge, so getting up there is no mean feat.

Put simply, it involves ladders.

Noting my success at climbing trees last week, Mrs W had obviously come to the conclusion that I’d be just as good at climbing ladders.  So she got hold of the name of a local hire firm who could provide said ladders for a few days.  This week, before I got back to work.

Now I have a confession to make.  Ladders and I do not get on at all well.  Actually, to be fair, the ladders seem pretty relaxed about me, but I am not at all relaxed around ladders.  Especially when I’m thirty foot up the things.  But still, the windows were looking a bit of a mess, and I was actually pretty good up those trees…

Ladders duly arrived, and I was ready to go – paint mixed, shorts on, brushes at the ready.  Next job – get the ladders up into position.  Now the bloke in the hire shop had asked me if I’d anyone to help me, as the ladders (all thirty-five feet of them) might be a bit heavy.  Yeah, I’ll be fine (I lied).  A bit heavy was a slight understatement – they weighed a ton!

Somehow, I managed to get them up in place, and started climbing.  And the ladder started swaying.

Bugger.

Still, nothing ventured and all that – and despite a few wobbles and crises of confidence, I managed to vaguely slap a bit of gloss in the general direction of the window frames, covering the bare wood and making things look slightly more presentable than before.

Flushed with success, I then did the same at the back of the house (only two storeys up this time – piece of piss!) and luckily managed to engage the services of the next door neighbour to repair some loose cement around the eaves.

Job done – but at the cost of a mass of bruises where I’d wedged arms and legs into the ladders in a vain attempt to feel secure!

Still, Mrs W was happy, and we celebrated by going out for a slap-up Chinese meal in Frodsham.  It’s a nice restaurant and boasts the waiter with the best memory for his customers ever – no matter how long ago we went in (and it’s over a year now) he always remembers us (telling us off this time for leaving it so long).  A nice place – the Chinese Delight – well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

I also invested in a big external hard drive this week to do a proper backup of all my computery stuff.  Having just upgraded to Windows 7, I thought I’d use the built-in backup utility for the task.  Big mistake.  I set the thing running, and waited.  And waited.  The percentage indicator was crawling along at around 2% per hour. Still, I left the thing running overnight, only to come down in the morning to a ‘fail’ message.  I set the backup running again, and it crawled along at the same rate as last time.  A quick Google suggested I wasn’t the only one having a problem.  So I canned it and downloaded a backup programme I’d used on a different computer and set that running.  Still not quick, but about five times quicker than the Windows option!

So – New Order in the background as I type.  The ‘album’ is a unique iTunes collection, following a specific format of original tracks combined with some re-recorded tracks and brief interview snippets.  Against all the odds, New Order rose from the wreckage of Joy Division, found their own style and made some cracking albums through the ’80s.

Here’s True Faith from 1987.  I love this video.  Not a clue what’s going on, but what’s not to like about bouncy people dressed in funny outfits?

Categories: Ladders, New Order, painting

>25 – 21: From Sheffield to Jamaica (via Memphis)

4 March, 2010 Leave a comment

>25:  A Certain Romance – Arctic Monkeys


I know they’ve hardly been around forever, but songwriting this good will stand the test of time.  I love this track, mainly for the lyrics, which capture perfectly the life of young men in “knackered Converse with tracky bottoms tucked in socks”, who think it’s alright to act like a dickhead – after a couple of cans.  Feeling like I’m almost sixteen again.

24:  Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack


Famous for its single-shot video, but the song stands alone perfectly without the visuals.  Beautiful vocal, subtle, trippy backing with sensitive sampling.  Hearing this in a muddy field in Somerset made the hairs on my neck, quite literally, stand on end.

23:  In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley


Choosing the song as much as the singer here – I could easily have picked Candi Staton’s version as this.  It does, however, prove that Lennon was wrong when he said Elvis died when he joined the army.  Produced by Chips Moman in Memphis in 1969, Elvis was coerced – bullied, even – into recording some of his strongest material.  This downbeat tale of ghetto life was the best of the bunch.

22:  The Perfect Kiss – New Order


I have to be quite specific here – only the long version of this song will do – the version used in the video produced by Jonathan Demme, not the shortened album version.  This is a song that needs to stretch out, rather like the Stone Roses’ extended version of Fool’s Gold.  This version really comes to life when Bernard stops singing, and Stephen and Hooky start hitting the syndrums, with the whole thing culminating in Hooky’s journey from top to bottom of the bass fret.  New Order were good, but they were never better than they were here.

21:  No Woman, No Cry – Bob Marley and the Wailers


Again I need to be specific – it has to be the live version, recorded at London’s Lyceum in 1975.  Just a beautiful slice of Lover’s Rock, a gentle reggae lilt with lyrics reminiscing about early Trenchtown days.  Credited to a friend of Marley’s (Vincent Ford) who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown but surely written by Marley.  Kept his mate in soup in perpetuity, no doubt…

http://www.divshare.com/flash/playlist?myId=10633776-bcc&new_design=true

>Day 53: The Boiler

>Today’s soundtrack: New Order – Retro

Had to get the old boiler seen to today. No, don’t worry, Mrs W is fine – I’m talking about the one that sits in the airing cupboard (arf!). Nothing serious – just the annual service by British Gas. The service itself went fine – no problems with the system – but it was interesting emptying the airing cupboard of all the stuff in there so the engineer could do his job. In doing so, I found out that we have 26 towels in our airing cupboard. Now bear in mind that this is mostly a two person household, and that I am just talking hand and bath towels here – not teatowels, which are another thing entirely. Also, the bathroom, en-suite and downstairs loo all have their own full complement of towels in situ, and I am sure there are still more towels in spare bedrooms and draped over radiators.

So between the two of us – and being conservative – we must have over thirty towels in the house. Was it Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy that made the point about a towel being an essential piece of kit come the apocalypse? We’ll be laughing, I tell you.

And whilst on the subject of laughing….just how funny was the football last night? The Chelsea game started sublimely, with one of the best goals I have ever seen – Essien’s strike was perfection and a thing of great joy to behold. Following the goal, Barca had tons of possession without really threatening to do a great deal with it. Chelsea were content to give Barca that possession and break forward when the opportunity arose. When they did, they had a few penalty shouts ranging, admittedly, from the marginal to the stonewall. But no matter – they were winning and when Barca had a man sent off after a coming together with Anelka (a dodgy decision in itself) it was all looking pretty academic.

That is, until Iniesta popped up to equalise in the second minute of injury time. The away goal meant that Barca, not Chelsea, would now go through. And Chelsea didn’t like that, one little bit. After a very optimistic penalty shout Michael Ballack ran fully 60 yards next to the referee, flapping his arms in his face like a demented pigeon. After the final whistle the referee (who had the temerity to come from Norway) was surrounded by Chelsea players, including Didier Drogba, who had lost all control….”A f*cking disgrace” he told the world via a conveniently pointed TV camera.

Better was to come. Back in the studio, Jamie Redknapp looked close to tears in the knowledge that cousin Frank would not be going to the final in Rome, harping on about the nationality of the referee as if this had any relevance at all, interrupting the only slightly less hysterical Gullit and Souness. Sky obviously gutted not to get their dream final.

All good, clean fun. And they did have a point, of sorts. Chelsea can count themselves unlucky not to have been awarded at least one penalty (although talk of four clear cut penalties is patently ridiculous) but rather than condemning the referee, Mr Drogba might consider whether the chance he missed to make it two-nil was a greater or lesser ‘disgrace’ than the ref’s performance. And reflect on the fact that he might get more penalties awarded if he did not go to ground like an extra in ‘Platoon’ at every opportunity…?

The only downside of course is that they will have had no distractions going into the FA Cup Final and we may get hit by a backlash. But still, it was fun while it lasted.

Out into the garden today, a-mowing and a-weeding and a-seeding. It’s looking a little bit better after its feeding the other week, and I have surreptitiously moved the birdtable in the hope of repairing the wreckage underneath its usual site. Not sure I’ll get away with that one though.

You’re an awkward bunch, you lot. “Forget the recipes, give us guitar stories” says one. “Any fool can play a guitar now making a good pie is a real challenge !” says another. Anyway, I’ve had a request for a Shepherd’s Pie recipe – with pictures. Now whilst I do a mean Shepherd’s Pie (actually Cottage Pie, if we’re being picky – although I have made composite pies in the past, combining beef and lamb mince in the pie) it’s not on Waring Towers’ menu in the near future so I can’t provide pictures I’m afraid.

But watch this space – I’ve been blathering on for long enough already today – will provide said recipe when I’ve got less to say. You’ve no idea how tricky it is, trying to keep you lot entertained on a daily basis!

But it’s worth waiting for, I promise.

New Order today, from their box set entitled ‘Retro’, a five disc collection that pulls together a range of live stuff, obscurities (including the theme music to ‘Best and Marsh’ on the telly) and greatest hits. As I type, I am listening to ‘The Perfect Kiss’, which might just be my favourite New Order track, especially in its extended version which includes an absolutely fantastic bass run played by Hooky and some ace synth drum banging and crashing.

And by the magic of YouTube, here it is, in all its glory. Love Hooky’s first bit of bassage (39 seconds in), but the fun starts from around 7:30 through to the end, it going gloriously mad from around 8:50 (how high is he playing that bass?) with a funky run from top note to bottom note to finish. I can only dream….

Categories: boiler, football, New Order