Thursday, 30 October 2008

Revolver

Roger: I bought this on the Saturday morning - the week it was released. It came after Rubber Soul - which on first hearing was very sparse and very different from The Beatles earlier albums. The two things that hit me right away were - 1 - how clean the sound was. Very bright! And -2- what a happy and uplifting album it was. I still absolutely love Good Day Sunshine. And then, of course, the depth of the Lennon numbers - And Your Bird Can Sing, the backwards guitar - learnt by George in reverse. Wonderful. Many regard this as their best album. And I have to say - they have a good case.

Later that day we went on holiday to Folkestone. I was in my early teens I guess. I couldn't wait to get home to play it again.




CJ: I was just twelve but it struck me as almost other worldly in that it sounded as if they had just kicked down some dusty old door to reveal the way that the future of pop should sound. It was quite remarkable. Very uplifting as Roger says and so very innovative too. It felt and still does like a perfect band effort. A great shame that they didn't allow George to ever have more than one or two songs per album again as on this he has three and all of them are equally as good as anything that either Lennon or Macca produced.
Simply wonderful. Still the best album ever and far better for me than Pet Sounds.

Roger: Pet Sounds? Poo!



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Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Mersey Sound

I loved this book. At school we studied Wordsworth's The Prelude. And read about all those daffodils that he came across whilst wandering. And we read Chaucer... yeah, I know... important and all that! And TS Elliot, Byron... all great and wonderful poets... But here were three poets that actually said something to me - a teenager in the late 60s. Roger McGough - today still producing lovely work, Brian Patten and the quirky Adrian Henri, sadly no longer with us; three outstanding poets withstanding the test of time. Accessible - probably paving the way for "popular"poets like Wendy Cope and John Hegley - funny, frank, sad and unpretentious.

They sold over half a million copies of that first edition - not bad for a book of poetry. You can still find the book in second hand bookshops and on amazon. Re-read your copy today! And if you've never read it - well, obtain a copy as soon as possible.



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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Miniatures


Fabulously eccentric LP I found at Brick Lane market in the East End of London some year ago. Compiled and initiated by Morgan Fisher who asked many of his friends and associates in the music and arts to donate a track of not more than 60 seconds. The resulting cornucopia of different genres and sounds is a joy to behold- ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous and involving such diverse talents as Ivor Cutler,Ollie Halsall,Neil Innes, The Residents and Henry Cow. 51 artists in all.


Here's the first 16 tracks-

1. ollie halsall & john halsey / bum love
2. the residents / we're a happy family + bali ha'i
3. roger mcgough / the wreck of the hesperus
4. morgan fisher / green and pleasant
5. john otway / mine tonight
6. pete challis & phil diplock / my way
7. robert wyatt / rangers in the nightst
8. stinky winkles / opus
9. mary longford / body language
10. andy 'thunderclap' newman / andy the dentist
11. david bedford / wagner's ring in one minute
12. fred frith / the entire works of henry cow
13. maggie nicols / look beneath the surface
14. joseph racaille / week-end
15. the work vwith wings pressed back
16. neil innes & son / cum on feel the noize

Masticate




Sadly, at fifty four and a half and fast approaching fifty five BUT with a twelve year olds mentallity I love this word and for all the wrong reasons...it sounds like something sordid that little boys and girls do when they are on their own!


mas·ti·cate
Pronunciation: \ˈmas-tə-ˌkāt\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): mas·ti·cat·ed; mas·ti·cat·ing
Etymology: Late Latin masticatus, past participle of masticare, from Greek mastichan to gnash the teeth; akin to Greek masasthai to chew — more at mandible
Date: 1562
transitive verb
1 : to grind or crush (food) with or as if with the teeth : chew
2 : to soften or reduce to pulp by crushing or kneading
intransitive verb

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Skiffle


A track called Gamblin' Man by the great Lonnie Donegan who spearheaded the skiffle movent in the 50's and made lots of spotty teenagers realise they could make music too. All you needed was a cheap guitar to strum a few chords on, a tea chest bass, a washboard, an old mangle and various household implements. Skiffle was the first DIY music phenomenom - way before Punk came along. John Lennon and Paul McCartney met whilst John was playing in The Quarry Men, a skiffle group he played in. Most of the pop groups of the 60's started out in skiffle groups. I used to watch them of Tv shows like 6 : 5 Special and listen to them on Saturday Club with Brian Matthew.

Discover more about Lonnie Donegan HERE.

Waddingtons Test Match





I have no idea where my Dad got this game from. All I know is that it was second hand and therefore probably came from someone he worked with.


"Give it to the boy Ralph, if he's like you, he will love his cricket."


Sadly, I am nothing like my dear old Dad. Not at all sporty and I don't follow the 'Hammers' either. As for cricket...someone please explain, I mean, cricket? What is it all about? Bloody dangerous if you ask me.


I remember playing it once at school and being told to bat. This hulking brute of a boy came hurtling at me and then bowled a fierce ball at me which nearly took off my head. I, being a bit of a rebel at school, certainly wilful, threw down my bat and walked off the pitch declaring that they were all barking mad to be playing such a game and why couldn't we play football. The PE master, less than impressed with my cowardice in the face of a flying cricket ball, made me run round the track for the rest of the lesson!


This Waddington game was good though even if I didn't, and still don't, know what Silly Mid-Off is nor what a googly might be. I did know that Ted Dexter was the dogs doo dah when it came to playing the game and therfore always took his name whilst playing it.




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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again


Number one in ongoing "Wonders Of The Wireless" series featuring old comedy shows from the hey day of the Beeb. Most are repeated now on Radio 7 thankfully so we can enjoy them all over again.
ISIRTA was on in the mid to late 60's and last show was in 1973. It featured the comedy talents of John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie ( before he got his comedy by-pass operation and turned into a grumpy old twitcher ) David Hatch, and Jo Kendall.
It was a cross between the Goodies and Monty Python and was very funny. It still makes me laugh now.

Friday, 10 October 2008

SKA


Ska is the jazz tinged R&B that was popular in Jamaica before it transformed itself into Rock Steady and Reggae in the late mid 60's. I used to pick up Ska Lp's and singles at Brick lane market in the 80's for next to nothing and it was certainly this kind of music that Madness and The Specials and the whole 2-Tone brigade were influenced by in the late 70's and early 80's. I loved the whole home grown ska sound but even more fascinated by the originals such as the Skatalites you can hear here playing a side from their LP cunningly entitled "Ska - Authentic".

Actually not a second hand record atall but one I bought in a sale from a shop in Soho in London back in the 80's during the ska boom when the Specials and Madness were just getting some big hits. This is a jamaican import and a very bad pressing and probably why it was cheap but some great instrumentals on here obviously influenced greatly by New Orleans jazz and R&B.

"The Skatalites is a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising ska, the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing boogie-woogie blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms. They recorded many of their best known songs, including "Guns of navarone", in the period between 1964 and 1965, as well as played on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists.
The members of the group were Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel, and Doreen Shaffer. Trombonist Drummond's composition, "Man In The Street", entered the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. He was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but was the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.
On January 1, 1965, Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, and in August that year, the Skatalites played their last show. The break-up resulted in the formation of two supergroups, "Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors" and "Tommy McCook and the Supersonics". Drummond died in the Bellevue Asylum on May 6, 1969 at age 37."
Tracks are-

1. Four Corners
2. Scrap Iron
3. Feeling Good
4. Royal Flush
5. Ball of Fire
6. Christine Keiler

The Crunchie Bar






Being diagnosed as Diabetic in 1957 meant I had a wonderful childhood full of times spent in hospital where any visitors always paid homage to the poor wee lad with copious amounts of Marvel and DC comics, hence my love of that genre to this day.

But, I hear you cry, as nice as the CJ history lesson is, what on earth has it to do with the famous Crunchie Bar? The answer as you might have guessed is quite simply nothing. I just thought it might get the sympathy vote and some more free comics.

As a diabetic though, and with a Mother who ruled my condition in a similar way to that used by Stalin in communist Russia, rigidly, I was glad that every Friday when my good old Granddad (Albert Thomas Diamond Jubilee Doughty - an Irishman t'ru and t'ru) brought home a box of Maltesers for me Mum and a Crunchie bar for me. One of lifes great joys was the Friday Crunchie bar and even now, some forty eight years on, I confess I still have the occasional munch. (I also sometinmes eat a Crunchie bar too!)



Tuesday, 7 October 2008

What really happened to Cherry B.





Good evening, Gentlemen. It's charming of you to invite me to join you in this pipe-fumed Snug. I only stumbled into The Shilling and Ha'pence hoping to use the powdering facilities. I was on my way to a Tufty Club Reunion. I must confess, since Willy the Weasel's demise, it's never had the same draw.

Now I find myself amongst such a select gathering, I rather think I might stay and warm my soul for a while. I've been listening to your conversation whilst waiting for the barman to blow the dust off a Babysham. I asked for Cherry B initally. Apparently my mother drank the reserves dry during the Great 1980 Divorce Disaster.

I do wonder if I should be sitting outside in the carpark eating crisps, drinking Coca Cola through a straw from a waisted bottle, the little blue packet of salt torn in two beside me on the sticky plastic seats of the orange Opel Manta.

I must confess that I have no concept of the subjects of which you speak. This is because all of them, with the exception of the wondrousful Withnail, preceded my actual conception.

My life references commence with Twinkle, the Bay City Rollers, Pinky & Perky, Anglo Bubblies ( which I was never allowed to have - so I stole one, leading to a harrowing half hour - there are scars still visible to this day of which I may speak later).

I am a fully-paid up member of The Famous Five, identifying strongly with George at an early age although in later years I feel much more akin to Anne and have had to take out a restraining order on Julian. Timmy, the Dog growls whenever he approaches. I never quite got along with The Secret Seven, too many Chiefs. I'm amongst the Mallory Towers alumni and intend to find out exactly what lacrosse is all about just as soon as I'm hard enough.

Would it be permissible to meet with you on a regular basis?




Monday, 6 October 2008

George Formby


George Formby was more my parents era than mine. His gormless northern wit and chirpy songs , all accompanied on the ukulele or banjolele is what cheered up the troops in the second world war. Eee by gum! His father George Formby Senior was a big star of the music halls and george followed in his footsteps and became an even bigger star of the 30's and 40's- selling millions of records and filling variety halls all over the land. His films too , which seem crass by today's standards, were big hits and cheered up the populace during those dark days between the wars.

"With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Withnail and I




This film has become something of a cult in recent years. One of those films that never made it on the box office register but has somehow slipped into the public consciousness by stealth. It is one of, if not THE best British film of its, or any one elses, day. As British as a black cab and as mad as the proverbial. It features some great performances by Richard Griffith's and Paul Macgann but a truly inspired performance by the incredible Richard. E. Grant who acts his veritable socks off.








It comes from the same stock of films as The Long Good Friday, The Time Bandits and the hugely succesful Life of Brian. All of which were produced by George Harrisons short loved Hand Made Films.



It is without a shadow of a doubt among the top ten of my favourite films ever made and I regulary go back to watch it again. I especially enjoy the scene with the chicken.

I didn't get to see this film until this year, 2008, so it certainly isn't something that I fell in love with in my youth or even younger years but it is still up there with all the things that are.

Terrific film and so British.





Friday, 3 October 2008

Bubble Gum Cards


These were a great collectors item for kids back in the 50's and 60's and probably still are today. I bought this one - The Brain Destroyer - as part of a set called The Outer Limits , based on a TV show that was popular in the early 60's (1964. Daystar-Villa Distefeno- United Artists TV.) Made byBubbles Inc. and Printed In England. The garish colours and weird subject matter of aliens and monsters was attractive and timeless. Other cards in the 20 or so I have have titles like Invade Earth and Night Of Terror - collect all 50 in the set. I'd love to have the rest and will continue looking at boot sales and flea markets- you never know!

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits." — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s

For more info. on The Outer Limits series go HERE<.a>.