Friday, December 02, 2016

the improbable day of release

howdy pop pickers

wow. barring some surprise release off of The Stone Roses, and i still half expect a release called Christmas With The Stone Roses to just appear look you see, that today would mark that which is the last day of release of interest for me this year. there have been quite a few, so no complaints.

and just what release has come about this time? in following the trend of many, if not all, of the releases that have got me off to HMV this year, it's a new recording off of a rather well known, or if you like established act. no less than The Rolling Stones, or Rolling Stones as they style themselves, or indeed Ro££ing $tone$ as they are also, also prone to styling themselves.

yep, that is indeed the window display off of HMV, resplendent as you can observe with sprinkles of shiny show on their cherished logo so as to celebrate the coming of Christmas.

what's the basics of this recording, then? well, it's called Blue & Lonesome, and it is the first new recordings off of the Rolling Stones since A Bigger Bang back in 2005. 11 years ago, blimey. new recordings but not new compositions or new songs as such. what we have here are 12 blues tunes that they have covered.

quick pause here. in passing i saw a news article with the headline "why the Rolling Stones have earned the right to be a covers band". yeah, just read that again and let it sink in. i wish anyone who dares to go up to the Stones and suggest there's any sort of question about if they have to earn anything, and hope that it does not smart too much or at least not for too long when they get their face smashed in. this is The Rolling Stones. they have earned, achieved and proved anything you could care to name.

is the record any good? if you are in a rush, then yes - Blue & Lonesome is excellent. there are at least 2, possibly 3 and maybe 4 generations of Dads out there that are just about to get this bought for them for Christmas, and that will be smart. i have every confidence that this record this year shall be for Dads what the Adele one was last year for Mums - "oh look, a record just for them since they still play records, this will do them". a "that will do" sort of present, then, but as in both cases the records have been outstanding, it is win-win all around, as the phrase win-win suggests.

at the leas, i know for a fact that one Dad in particular shall be getting it in the post......

versions of Blue & Lonesome? the standard 12 track CD comes in at £9.99. the "deluxe" edition, as you can see, comes in at £34.99, has no extra tracks and contains a 72 page book. i had no hesitation in deciding that the 16 page booklet with the standard version would tell me all i needed to know, and so between them HMV and the Stones have a penny south of a tenner off of me. (Dad don't read that last bit since it's coming as a gift, thanks).

a bit more background on the record? to be sure. it was, as has been well documented, recorded in all of three days a year ago, or if you prefer during December 2015. it would appear that the band had a bit of an itch that they wished to scratch. that itch was the blues music which they heard and were influenced by in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the scratching was, after what can only be described as one hell of an adventure through rock and time, to pay homage to those songs. to play and sing them with the love that they struck the band with in the first instance.

the "recorded in three days" thing presents a question, then. is it a rushed, this will do release, shoved out in full on Ro££ing $tone$ cash grab mode? no. so far as i know Ronnie Wood has not had a divorce for a while now, so there's been no pressing reason to expand revenue streams. this is pure quality Rolling Stones - not the most polished release they've ever given, but all the better for it.

Sir Mick and co do, after all, highly value the brand they have created. they might indulge in excess pricing or fleecing the fans in making them buy the same stuff several times over, but the one thing they never allow to happen is a sub-par product come out featuring their name.

a rather pertinent question considering the year we have had is whether or not this record represents a coming to the end of the Rolling Stones as a recording concern. for every exceptional release of music we have had this year it feels like we have paid with the departure of one artist that we had all assumed to be immortal. whilst so far as i know the band are in good health, there is no escaping the realities of the ages which the key members have reached.

should this prove to be the last ever new recordings that the Stones make, then it's a perfect bookend to a remarkable, never ever going to be repeated recording career. it is this, at the least, in a way that, say, A Bigger Bang never was.

by no means is it an overt farewell, as was the case with Bowie and Blackstar, but there's very much a sense of it being a tacit one. it's a gang of friends playing the music that, oh so many years ago, brought them together and defined their lives. wouldn't you do that if you could?

a cynical, professional critical review of this record, i confess, would probably be that it's a bunch of musicians that messed around in a studio for fun and then simply decided to release it for the money. that's an entirely objective take. i don't get the sense of that here. this is pretty much the sort of thing fans of any band want - don't worry so much about what you think might work or believe is what you should be doing, just go with instinct and all shall fall into place.

so then yes, if you are randomly looking around for what to spend a tenner on for Dad or Grandad this Christmas, the Rolling Stones give it to you and give you a penny back too. but without hesitation, hand over as a gift with confidence or even just take an hour to sit back and enjoy yourself.

and, barring some surprise release or a record i have forgotten about, best of luck to 2017 in delivering just half of the good music we've had this year. if you could just sort of get on with doing that and less of the removal of those who make it from our world, so much the better.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wondering where the surprise part is

hello there

sometimes i really do think that i should take select writings off of this blog, make a nice portfolio of them and present myself as someone able to provide "expert comment and analysis". normally i don't rate much of me and my abilities all that highly, look you see, but it's getting to the point where i would without any debate seem able to do better than those paid an awful lot of money for insight and projections.

and all i have done to be able to do this is look at a situation from time to time, observe it and then understand it for what it is. as was, with the input of Spiros, the case with the by-election in Richmond this week.

the above is but a fraction of the campaigning literature and leaflets that Spiros has sent me from that part of the world. this fraction is in itself a mere fraction of the stuff shoved into his various mail boxes (he's a man of many addresses). it would seem on a daily basis Richmond got more election stuff through the door than the rest of the country got during the course of the entire 2015 general election.

so, to recap, Zac Goldsmith lost the election. he managed to turn his approx 23,000 majority as a Conservative MP into a loss as an Independent candidate. on the one side credit is due to him for "keeping his word" and triggering this by-election as a result of his now former party voting for a new runway at Heathrow. on the other, bigger and more important side, he should have perhaps checked if anyone was really all that bothered about the Heathrow decision, and if he was the only one working to stop the new runway happening. he made something of an oversight in both instances.

it really did look quite obvious all along that Zac was going to lose this election. and yet the reporting today is that the result is a "shock" and "surprise". no, not it wasn't. if you have a look, for example, here and here, you can see the signs always pointed to this. 

yep, the above is even more of the pamphlets and flyers that Spiros has been sent in the post or handed. the letter off of Nick Clegg is a really nice touch in particular; a gesture which in fairness does make it all the more impressive that the Lib Dems won despite the reminder that Nick Clegg is one of them.

what perhaps is a shock and surprise is that "the press", as in newspapers and the twenty four hour news stations, are saying that this election result reflects or represents "a national change of mood against Brexit". no, no, it most certainly does not.

i respect the fact that the vote against Brexit in Richmond was some 70%. or if you like, 70% of Richmond voted to remain in the EU. i'd suggest that the press respect the fact that as Zac was a pro-leaver (the only thing i agree with him on) it was always going to be a harder task for him to get re-elected. Richmond is an amazing place, man, and full of some wonderful people. it does not, however, in any way, shape or form reflect what the rest of country is thinking.

best of luck to Ms Olney in representing the area as MP, then. if nothing else, we can assume that she will not be going ahead and triggering by-elections on the basis of promises that she should perhaps not have made.

as for Zac Goldsmith, well. he's been found not good enough to be London Mayor despite standing against the weakest possible alternate candidate, and he has been found not good enough for the constituents that he represented for almost 18 months. as he now presumably has more time on his hands to google himself and launch legal stuff against blogs and such, i will leave it there.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

jingle bells make money


well, it is time. time, look you see, to get into the yuletide traditions, the festive spirit, the mood to celebrate Christmas.

and what better way, ladies, gentlemen and elves, to celebrate Christmas than through the conduit of some quality, seasonally themed vibes?

yes, it's time to crack open the classics. the Chas & Dave Greatest Christmas off of Chas & Dave is a CD i got last year off of Poundland, or maybe the year before. this year Poundland have Christmas With Elvis Presley off of The King, Elvis Presley on the shelves, and so i bought it, to be sure.

Poundland actually has quite a few Christmas CDs on sale at the moment, as you would expect for this time of year. there's an absolutely boss looking one what features Mr Sinatra, Dean Martin and co, but i can't go spending all my money on Christmas music. great, i suppose, if Cat Stevens makes one at some point.

sadly, it seems, the celebrated, recent and inspirit Christmas albums off of Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand and Bob Dylan are not available for sale through Poundland. never mind, the fact that they recorded Christmas records shows just how inclusive the genre is.

also, not pictured here is the greatest Christmas record of all; the b-side to the 12" of The Power Of Love off of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. their special Christmas message remains as wonderful now as it did then. i can assure you that i will, as is the case every Christmas, be playing it at least once this season.

but hey, let's worry about what we have here. for those of you who can with success playback some video on this blog, here's a snippet of the Chas & Dave interpretation of O Come All Ye Faithful. and yes, someone somewhere in charge of a recording studio did indeed allow them access to brass band musicians to make this recording.


they, if we just pretend for the purposes of this witty writing, say that a perfect version of O Come All Ye Faithful will both warm the cockles of your heart and bring a tear to your eye. Chas & Dave, i think you will find, go one better, as their versions does wonders for your blood pressure entire and successfully makes your f*****g eyes water if played at the correct volume.

and what of the Christmas selection from The King, Elvis Presley? the inner cover makes it clear that all songs on the disc are considered to be "public domain" and thus "royalty free", except of course for His royalty streaming through all that He does. it's presumably to keep the costs down that they have not licensed an image of Him for the cover, nice though the microphone with the Christmas hat on is.

what does my family - the 75% of them that you all like a good deal more than you like me - think of my Christmas music selection? for the most part they have requested that i keep the discs up in my elevated shed, and that they can celebrate them simply by knowing that i am enjoying them. which is, you know, kind of nice and thoughtful of them.

anyway, now i must ding dong merrily on high go off and listen to this music. well, perhaps the one off of The King, Elvis Presley. the Chas & Dave one i shall listen to, but let us not forget that Channel 5, as they do every year, will probably screen the celebrated Chas & Dave Christmas Cockney Knees Up 1981 special again, featuring such guests as Eric Clapton and others.

ooooh, Christmas TV Times and Radio Times will be out soon!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ballot of the vanities

hello there

if you were to ask me, personally, about the imminent by-election in Richmond this week i would, look you see, say i don't really care. whoever wins it is not going to do anything that will change government on a national level, and so i should just ignore it and let them do whatever. however, my chum Spiros does care a lot, as witnessed here, and so i do too care.

there's also some wonderful lessons being thrown up by this election. as per usual when mentioning anything with Zac Goldsmith i must be careful for he is quite happy to issue legal threats to those who write about him, but i believe i speak in the boundaries of fair comment and opinion.

this by-election has been triggered on grounds that no one particularly vocally cared about. back in 2015 Zac Goldsmith was elected Conservative MP for the constituency. buried away in all the things he promised was a pledge to resign and stand as an independent if a Conservative government voted in favour of an extra runway at Heathrow. this they did, so so that he did.

the Conservatives have responded by not fielding a candidate in this election to replace him. they are cautious of splitting the vote and letting another party win, and they are seemingly confident that a re-elected Zac Goldsmith will, no matter how "independent" he claims to be, simply support them.

all of the literature and statements coming from Mr Goldsmith substantiate this.

sorry, it seems that the above picture is most insistent on coming up the wrong way around when i upload it. being bigger, however, makes a few things clearer. doesn't it always?

i've kind of addressed point 1 above and hinted at point to. looking at point 2 in a bit more detail is worthwhile, for it underlines the idea that this whole by-election - the disruption, the cost, the quite frankly staggeringly wasteful level of leaflets printed - has come about for no good reason beyond the vanity of Mr Zac Goldsmith.

as far as i can see, he believes that resigning and standing again is making a popular stand against one decision, and he's looking to be elected as an "independent friend of the government" in order to get some sort of accolade, praise or pat on the head for the actions he has taken.

far be it for me to suggest that he would have been better off remaining part of government and carrying on the fight without this distraction. this is particularly true as there is, of course, every chance that Mr Goldsmith will lose and no longer be in Parliament to debate or fight for anything.

again with the sideways, sorry i have no idea how to just make blogger upload images the right way around. for i think we can all agree that sideways is incorrect.

the general consensus is that the election is a straight shoot-out between Mr Goldsmith and Ms Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrats representative. the gist of Ms Olney's electioneering campaign is that she's actually done a lot of things for the area, and indeed in a stance against a new runway, rather than just offer to resign if she didn't get her way.

that's a bit off of the Labour candidate above, as well as yet more literature shoved through the door of Spiros about this election.

a great part of the English way of doing things is to knock people down if they are successful. one really does have to be careful not to do this. that said, it is hard to wish for any result in this by-election other than a Zac Goldsmith defeat. after all of the political dynamics we have experienced worldwide in the last two or so years, this idea of using elections as a personal approval mechanism has just got to stop.

yes, the above would appear to show that the Labour party are kind of backing the Liberal Democrat candidate rather than their own.

it's worth highlighting again that Zac Goldsmith wasn't considered good enough to be London Mayor, even though he was standing against a particularly inept and weak candidate. why exactly the people of Richmond and Kingston would accept an independent mayoral reject to represent them is beyond me, but we shall find out if this is to be during the week.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

the queen is half undressed


Barbs, it would seem, has been fairly vocal of late. actually no she hasn't. it is quite suspicious, look you see, that she hasn't waded in to the recent US electoral campaign as normally she has something of an opinion to voice. well, this was the case when it was the other Clinton seeking elected power, to be sure. perhaps she's just not that much into this one. or wasn't, since barring the recount thing it's all done and dusted.

getting back on track somewhat and where Barbs has been vocal. that person i know who is doing some emissary sort of stuff over in one of them European countries has kindly forwarded on some stuff off of an interview what Barbs granted.

as you can see, evidently it was a somewhat relaxed interview as Barbs did not bother too much about what to wear on the south side of her body, bar some most splendid shoes. and some tights, i think, unless she has been smearing coffee on her legs. and why not, if the latter is true and it makes her happy to do so.

any particularly noteworthy or insights into world of Barbs from the interview, beyond at the least her apparent lack of pressing need to be dressed in full in order to conduct it? yes, quite. one snippet from the interview stood out a very great deal. this is possibly due to it being the only snippet sent to me as such, but no matter, it's a good one.

that no is pretty conclusive, is it not?

i am not too surprised about this declaration of her not singing in the shower. for a start, i very much doubt that Barbs does something as lower class as shower anyway - for her, i would expect, it's all bathing in Tibetan milk, or possibly in that mineral infused water off of volcanic regions.

there's also the case of her accidentally giving away a free performance to any one of her two dozen staff or so. no doubt these people - gardeners, carpenters and so forth - expect to be paid as it is for their services. why should Barbs give them a vocal performance for free on top of that?

let's not be unsympathetic to Barbs' plight here. it must be tough for her to not sing. a very natural instinct for her, i would imagine, is to go all blazing with the vocals. to deliberately not break out into verse is a very big ask, and if you ask me that makes her all the more awesome for not doing so at random.

what's that above? the stats off of my blog for the last day, or if you like twenty four hour period. as you can see, no one - or at least not more than one - from off of Japan has visited. in the short term, then, my last blog before this one was a total waste of time. in the long term, who knows, perhaps the Japanese will come flocking.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016







Watashi wa gimon ni omou, watashi wa jissai ni kono keishiki de nihongo tekisuto o teiji subekidesu ka? Kore wa watashi no burogu o mitsukete, sore o yomi, tanoshimu tame ni, Nihon no hitobito no tame ni sore ga yōi ni narudarou ka?







Friday, November 25, 2016

four go mad in Saltburn

hello there

pretty much what the title says, my friends. oh no, look you see, i be not one of the four going mad, so fear not, no need to avert your eyes on the off chance that an image of me would appear. no, instead then, it's that the boys went off of another jolly, perhaps spectacular outing, with the Harlo's.

oh yes indeed, that is the four of them, all off and going to do all sorts of mad things in Saltburn, as the title some what suggests if not outright promises.

this was all as recently as last weekend, which means that yes, they went off to a coastal region of the North East of England during November. whilst many parallels - synergies and symmetries if you like - exist between Saltburn and, say, St Tropez or Ibiza, there are not quite so many that one would normally find the climate of Saltburn during this particular month to be in any way tropical or Mediterranean.

but hey, Saltburn is smart, and visiting the place at any time of the year is considerably better than not.

the above, i hope, shows off not only the boys having fun, but also how Saltburn simply doesn't have that Mediterranean climate to it during November. just as well really, i suppose, for if it did visitors might be tempted to walk around in a decidedly disrobe sort of state and end up getting arrested off of the constabulary. they don't tolerate "that sort of thing" too kindly there; at least not off of outsiders.

for what reason is it that the boys headed off to Saltburn? not sure on the specifics, but chance permitted them to head off with the sensational Harlo's, and that's where they went. in doing so, my (considerably) better half and i were able to go off and do some super special covert secret stuff; the kind of thing that parents are so prone (and expected) to do around this time of year.

and just who needs all that Mediterranean nonsense, anyway, when you have smart blue and orange sort of tyre things on which one can stand? if you need it in this world, or it will make you feel better about life, then Saltburn would surely have it for you.

should you be wondering of Saltburn's skills in respect of the above extends to them possibly having swings, then the answer to this is most decidedly yes.

yes, sorry, i know the most strikingly visible aspect of the last two pictures is the proclivity of the boys to wear shoes of many colours. they are influenced by footballers and something called "fashion" in this respect. as far as i am concerned, shoes should be brown when wearing blue jeans, white when playing tennis or cricket, and black in all other instances.

did they all dine in Saltburn? but of course. where? no idea, except that i get the idea that it was posh. when we ask the boys about eating, their eyes light up. we ask the name of the place from them and they say they don't know, but that it was posh, dead posh, real posh, soooo posh, proper posh and a number of other variations of posh that i cannot recall.

should the absolute most bestest and poshest dining facility in Saltburn - perhaps the known universe - be of interest to you, then the best i can do is advise you that it's a "big glass place" to your left as you come off the pier and towards land.

it certainly does sound quite posh. i dare say that i have passed it on my numerous travels to Saltburn, but in all likelihood i would have been too busy considering Art Garfunkel or something to have considered to stop and do something as trivial as eat.

was it quite safe for the boys to have been climbing over this fence in the way that they were, mindful of that being a not really insignificantly steep drop down to some most splendid concrete below? presumably yes, and anyway it doesn't matter as they were returned to us relatively unscathed.

anyway, i have some matters i must attend to.

thank you, family and friends, for stopping by to have a gander. i trust you've enjoyed another update, or if you like insight, into how the boys are getting on!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Spiros at the Playboy


yes, quite. that is not the title of a post i thought i would ever write, look you see, leaving a side your current disbelief at actually reading it. Spiros - that Spiros - has been off to the celebrated Playboy Club, dear reader.

in his role as the greatest legal mind of his own generation, arguably all, he is called on to attend to a great many matters. this involves meeting in venues which are somewhat out of the ordinary for him, as ultimately he will visit wherever those who pay his most handsome fee elect to do so. if left to Spiros, of course, meetings would always take place in the relaxed environs of places such as YMCA gymnasiums or Turkish Bath Houses, where he believes getting all hot and steamed up with men allows for perfect clarity of focus on the business at hand, so to speak.

that is indeed the tradesman entrance which Spiros was going through. he doesn't really care for attention being drawn to him or his rather specialist legal services, and so always seeks a degree of anonymity. also, that is indeed a quite dapper jumper he has on. i took the liberty of commending him on it on behalf of all future readers who see this, and he was most gratified by this.

it's not just the Playboy that Spiros has to frequent from business. far, far from it. should Spiros need to have a meeting with Spaniards, or for that matter people off of Dorset, he finds that more often than not they select the Groucho club, for such people are easily impressed by lightweight celebrities. Otherwise, you mention or name a fancy, member only club for gentlemen in any major city, and Spiros is, due to his work, a patron of it.

why was Spiros at the Playboy Club? a Japanese (or similar) concern is interested in soliciting his opinion on if not bypassing then circumventing one or two points of the celebrated Basel II compliance agreement in terms of financial conduct, as in all of them. Strangely, as part of making the brokering of such a deal more tax efficient for all parties, there's talk of a docu-drama, provisionally titled Spiros at the Playboy being mooted, with one or two film production companies well known for assisting in creative accountancy quite prepared to start filming.

anyway, as and when Spiros has another adventure i am sure it will feature here. as will, ladies and gentlemen, anything else non-Spiros related that catches my curiosity.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

i can sing a rainbow

ow do

not too much of consequence this time around. yes, i know, there very rarely is anything of consequence here, look you see, but this time i am setting out with it as an intention, to be sure.

it's just that a little while ago, as opposed to some unspecified date in the future, i took some pictures of a really nice rainbow. i didn't quite get around to posting them here before, so here they are now.

everyone likes rainbows, man. they are beautiful and brighten up the grey of the sky against which they so often contrast.

not really a great deal i can add to that, i suppose.

yes of course i was, am and shall forever be a big fan of the Rainbow TV show. it was smart that, with the pig and the bear and the thing with the zip.

from what i remember the film Rainbow Bridge concentrated on a bunch of hippies getting some money together to pay Jimi Hendrix to do a gig on top of a mountain. why? they were sure his cosmic guitar skills would call out to aliens and they would be attracted to our planet as a result. far out, man, that's a smart idea that is.

the other end of the rainbow? sure.

right, more sorts of stuff later. maybe more rainbows, i guess, if i see them and take pictures and remember to add them here.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

the co-pilot

hello there

i do, as and when chance permits, do what i can to accommodate requests here on this blog. it is a particularly happy day when i get such a  request, look you see, as when that happens it means that i don't have to sit and think too much about what to write here.

today, then, is a very special request off of my erstwhile if not occasional co-pilot off of the last few weeks. behold, then, here is the one that they call Magic. well, actually, no, they don't call him Magic, but i am encouraging people to do so, and this post is a step in the right direction for expanding this ambition of mine, so win-win.

yeah, the picture quality is not so great in the above, sorry. although yes, i do appreciate the fact that many of you would say the more limited the visibility is in a picture of me then by default the picture is better.

what does Magic do to earn such a moniker or if you prefer name such as Magic? is he some sort of conjurer or illusionist? no, not really, at least not in the traditional sense. it's just that Magic is a cool name, and so as everyone should have a call handle name his just happens to be Magic.

i do understand that some of you - Spiros in particular - will be getting quite bored with this post at this stage and be tempted to switch off, so here you go, here's Magic with some men.

i believe that the gentlemen in the picture have quite a celebrity status within certain circles of a sporting endeavour. splendid if you recognize them. Magic did indeed tell me who they were, but to be honest i was concentrating on the road as i drove so have forgotten, sorry.

and concentration i required, dear reader. we are getting absolutely battered off of some rain and wind here today. not pleasant at all, but it could be worse. for a start, there's no / not much flooding (a wave did sort of go over my car earlier), and people generally behave on the roads here. well, they do at least in comparison to the rather mental, if not bezerk, way one takes to the streets of Johannesburg.

a somewhat clearer picture of my co-pilot and i at the control of my wheels? Magic is as Magic does, so to speak, and here is a picture along those lines off of the Magic.

yes, indeed that is a better picture. Magic is better at these selfie things than i am, it seems. also he clocked that if he put the lights on in my (parked and ignition off, concerned constabulary members) car, then the picture would be better.

looking at the above, i believe i need to shave if not trim my beard. it would seem i have a sort of wildman Catweazle or Wurzel Gummage thing on the go.

what is it, exactly, that Magic does when he's not being my co-pilot and taking selfies? he is a man with many strings to his bow. i think the one string he would care for me to highlight here is that he is, as point of fact, the senior political editor for the celebrated Middlesbrough Events website. also, once upon a time, many years ago, it turns out that Magic once lived down the road and around the corner from me. strange that we have met once more then. small, funny world, etc.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

fags by spiros for a formally fifth time


it has been, look you see, that people have been entertained by posts entitled a variation of Fags by Spiros on this blog for just north of half a decade now. wow. the years really do pass you by when you stop to consider it.

some of you would probably be troubled to read the fifth segment of a story without knowledge of the prior four. for you, then, i have obtained the links to the earlier episodes. here you go, one, two, three and of course four. happy reading. and, with all of you presumably that wish to be up to speed, on we go.

as you can sort of see with semi-clarity above, Spiros has only gone ahead and gotten me a packet of the most popular fags for the gentry available in the Ukraine, hasn't he just, to be sure. 

Davidoff Classic is what they are, should that image be a little bit too dark. sorry, it is only a month or so that i have had my new phone with a camera welded to it and i haven't quite worked out the intricacies of flash settings and so forth.

yes though i have worked out how to take Commodre 64 style pictures with it, although it is not like the Davidoff is any clearer in that superior format. here you go, a look at least, with some other fags what Spiros brought back for me from one of the most eastern parts of Eastern Europe.

indeed, as is the way of his infinite kindness and generosity, Spiros did as point of fact bring me back some lovely, lovely Marlboro Red as well as the Davidoff Classics. nice one man.

and what do Marlboro Red cost in the nation of Ukraine? are you ready for this - 75p a packet. that is not a mistake, seventy five pence a packet. that compares to the £9.70 (nine pounds and seventy pence) a packet of Marlboro Red costs here in the UK. oh no, we are not over taxed or ripped off here, are we?

in the above picture you can see the standard, stock warning (smoking is bad for you, it harms your health, it kills otherwise normal immortals, etc) in a language easily understood by the good people of the Ukraine. over on the back are the standard picture warnings, done to make it visibly clear to the illiterate that smoking is bad. 

what you thought looking at the above, if you are a fellow smoker, is exactly what i thought too. over in the Ukraine they have completely different pictures to the ones we get on packets. also, over in the Ukraine they seem to get much, much better picture warnings than we do.

do i have a favourite on the above set of images? yes of course. we will get to that now, but first if for some reason you wished to view a selfie of me enjoying one of them Marlboro, here you go.

yeah, i need to work on lighting, flash, etc. there's a bit of a Colonel Kurtz off of Apocalypse Now thing i have on the go there. which, now that i think on, is not so bad.

i'm not at all sure that "favourite" is the right word, but one of the more interesting things i have noted with these image warnings on cigarettes is the preoccupation they have with how smoking affects your sexual skills and ability to reproduce. for some reason they tend to hammer on about the idea of how cigarettes just might knack your sperm, make you infertile or give you some sort of erectile dysfunction syndrome.
here's a look at the latter two, in reverse order, with one pack from the UK and one pack from the Ukraine.

should smoking indeed make you infertile - and i have not read any evidence to say yes or so and thus will sit on the fence - then it's quite strange that they are not actively encouraging everyone to smoke, since we are supposedly overpopulating the planet with our proclivity to procreate. bring the tax down, this Hammond chap, and bring control to population numbers, then.

in respect of the Ukrainian image above, my (considerably) better half makes an interesting point. we assume the point of the image is to say that if that lady smokes then she will have broken ovaries and will not be able to have children, or if you like shall be infertile. if that's the case, then for what reason is it that she bought a pushchair, let alone ask why she walks around with it?

what warning image is on the pack of Davidoff Classic? some chap in hospital.

and yes, as usual whenever i do a post on the subject of cigarettes, whilst how bad they are is debatable i do know and appreciate that they are most decidedly not good for you. and so i would encourage each and every one of you reading this to not smoke, for what my social commentary is worth.

with that in place, onwards to me having a try of these Davidoff Classic.

i received some comment, advice and guidance from someone about Davidoff. details of this shall come next, but the important thing is that in respect of the information i got i felt obliged to open the packet of them up in the trendiest, most hip and with it and fashionable place i could find. so here's me opening up the packet in the doorway of the official Apple store down town.

i know someone who is presently engaged in some form of emissary work in one of the central to eastern regions of Europe. when i informed them of the fact that i had Davidoff Classics they were most excited. they told me that these were the number one brand of choice amongst the trendy, the fashionistas and the image conscious in central Europe. this, i am led to believe, is due to a rather mistaken idea that "Davidoff" is a truncated or if you like abridged version of "David Hasselhoff", which much of central Europe believing he to be the very personification of style.

my feeling is that those white filters on the cigarettes are ones which are normally only found on fags designed for the rather more female kind of lady market. i suspect, then, that Spiros went into a store and asked the proprietor to sell him a packet of fags for "men who like men and want to show other men that this is the case when they see them smoke one".

alas, no, i was not approached by any gentlemen as i had one, but if you want to see me smoking one of them, here you go.


i am indeed wearing the legendary Zama jacket in the above image. this is the jacket, for those of you not in the know, that young Zama procured for me from the back of Johannesburg's main taxi rank. it's a Levi's one, or at least that's what it says on the partially correct sewn on label. Zama assured me that it would withstand the ice and snow of England. i keep testing it and finding it to be short.

are Davidoff Classic fags any good? no, but yes. yes because they are free cigarettes, and here in England these are not to be overlooked. also they were a gift of love off of Spiros. no because they have a rather coarse and try taste. it's all that "feels like toilet paper" filter stuff they have on the go; a phenomenon one would normally associate with French fags.

the above is, presumably, the nicotine and tar levels of Davidoff Classic written in the format preferred by the people and indeed the authorities of the Ukraine. no, other than a rudimentary guess at the numbers, i have no idea what that all translates as.

many thanks once again, then, to Spiros for his exceeding kindness with his fags. i do rather look forward to his next international voyage and seeing what cigarettes he finds for me next.

remember - smoking is bad for you and those around you, don't do it, etc.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

a shorter day of release

hello there

and yea, so it came to pass that the gods of music continued to giveth just as they taketh. yet another album of quality and note has been released in 2016, look you see, with this most recent one coming off of renowned metal merchants Metallica.

for it is, despite what you will read here, a very good album. it just did not, in a digital capacity, require the need for a release in the form of a double album as such. we shall get to that momentarily.

one of the most gratifying, welcome and pleasant elements of this release is that HMV, presumably in a moment of madness, ostensibly remembered that at heart they are a music store and actually went right ahead promoting some new music on its day of release.

oh yes, that's what i am talking about - a poster for a new record up in the front window of the store on the day you can actually first buy it, and not a couple of days later as an afterthought. as you can see, HMV considered a new Metallica record to be almost as important as one off of Bruno Mars, whoever that is, and decidedly more prominent that Craig David. nice one.

promotion of the record did not end there, but you shall, if you stick with this, see that across various images below.

as you can see, the standard 2 CD price is a hefty £14.99. there is a "deluxe" 3CD edition for £17.99. if you are going to purchase Hardwired....To Self Destruct off of Metallica, please get the 3CD version. the reasons for this were alluded to, actually explicitly stated, in some musings what i wrote yesterday, but more on that in a bit.

indeed that is Metallica's shiny new record sat at the toppermost of the poppermost of HMV's temple of what is new and what is trending in the world of music. a quite high placing, it seems - none higher, as point of fact. placing them above, as you can see, the latest mishmash of someone taking the fine vocals of The King, Elvis Presley and dubbing them over some orchestra.

we're hardly cutting to the chase at this point, but if your question is one of whether or not Hardwired....To Self Destruct is any good, the answer is oh yes. it's excellent. right across all 12 tracks and all 77 minutes and 30 seconds of it. and that latter bit gets to the heart of an issue with this release.

here's a rundown, then, of the technical specifications of the three disc set :

disc 1 - 6 tracks, 37 minutes 12 seconds
disc 2 - 6 tracks, 40 minutes 18 seconds
disc 3 - 17 tracks, 79 minutes 38 seconds.

conclusion - there was no good reason at all to make Hardwired....To Self Destruct a double CD release. the whole album would have fitted on to one CD with ease. and yet here we are, a double CD release, with the two disc standard version costing £5 north of what a standard one CD release would be.

make no mistake. i am aware that when it comes to vibes that quality is always, always, always more important than quantity. for example, a 30 minute David Lee Roth vocal record off of Van Halen priced at £10 would always be infinitely better quality and of immeasurably higher quality than a cheaper or even free Van Halen record that had Sammy Hagar doing whatever the hell it is he's supposed to be doing on it.

this is not, then, a criticism or dig or go at Metallica for not making it longer as such, but it is a criticism of them for fleecing the fans for a higher cost record than it needed to be. and yes, in fairness, in a somewhat commercially suicidal move i do appreciate that the band effectively gave the record away for free the day before release, putting on the internet as they did videos for each of the twelve songs.

in respect of the latter there is absolutely no point me putting snippets of the songs here as you can hear the whole thing across the net anyway. but getting to the main point of above, this is not quite the first time a double CD release has courted controversy or caused eyebrows to be raised.

the standard maximum capacity of a music CD is 80 minutes. there is a slightly bigger version that you can get 90 minutes on, but 80 is the main one used. this has not always been the case; when CD technology came along in the 80s the maximum you could get on one disc was either 74 or 76 minutes.

that copy of Tommy by The Who you can see is a double disc version. it's the first generation release, and features both sides of lp 1 on disc one, same arrangement for disc two. as and when CD technology allowed for more vibes to be placed on a CD, it was reissued as a single disc. the same is true for London Calling off of The Clash, which i have here somewhere. this is fair enough.

somewhere i also have a first generation copy of 1999 off of Prince. it is a single disc version, but omits the epic ways of D.M.S.R. in order for it to fit on an 80s technology single CD. i believe later issues put the song back on it. but still, it was released in a way to make it affordable during a time when record labels could charge whatever the hell they liked for music, as there was no such thing as "streaming" or downloads, unless you call taping something off the radio as downloading a stream.

when The Beatles got around to putting out their Red and Blue "greatest hits" records on CD, much in the way of complaint was raised of Red being a double CD. the two discs in their entirety run for just a few seconds over 60 minutes. with that being the case, many were critical, saying it was wasteful and that it should have been issued as a single disc. the argument back from The Beatles and the record label was that they wished to "preserve the way it was originally released". understandable as aesthetics are important to the art of owning music, but then again it's not like they made double sided CDs to preserve anything.

that is indeed me holding my £17.99 3 CD copy of the record, inside HMV no less. i very nearly bought just the standard 2 CD for £14.99 but thought no, let me splash the extra £3. just as well that i did, as if i had bought the 2 CD and discovered the things above at home this review would be a good deal more negative.

going back to aesthetics, and there's no excuse that Metallica can hide behind for making this release a 2 CD affair. as you can see in one of the pictures it's not like the discs have any special design on them. the packaging could have been the same with 1 CD in too. also, going on a couple of listens, there's no good "thematic" or content reason why the album should be split over two discs.

disappointingly, then, the only reason this has been split over a double compact disc set as far as i can see is so that they may charge us, the humble fans, £5 more than standard for it. there are those who would say such a move is "typical Metallica", but i'd say that's unfair - in my experience they've always been first rate with fans, giving some astonishing value.

that's the unprecedented second display inside the store what HMV have for the record, ensuring the fans and the casual vibes browser can spot it. mindful of the above, in terms of capacity and preserving audio quality yes of course it makes sense to release Hardwired....To Self Destruct as a double vinyl set. which is what they have done.

the most outstanding tracks on the record? well, the first two released, Hardwired and Moth Into Flame remain my favourites, but there's not a bad one. in regards of the "bonus" disc, the four extra songs are all decent (and if they had been shoved on the two discs of the album there would be no complaints about making it a double), whilst the live recordings are most splendid. splendid indeed, but then again don't forget the magnificent Live Metallica site, where one can get some outstanding quality official live recordings - ones that sound better than what is on this disc - for a good price. as in some of them are free.

in this day and age it's awfully trendy to refer to any artists' latest release as "their best and most important since....[randomly selected record]". the best example of this was David Bowie, when somehow the critics decided that both The Next Day and then Blackstar were "the best and most important thing" he had done since Scary Monsters. which overlooked some quality, but anyway. to this end, Hardwired....To Self Destruct is easily Metallica's best and most important album since Death Magnetic, which happens to be the last album off them before this. people claiming that Hardwired is a "return" to their classic sound clearly never heard Magnetic, for that was very much classic Metallica.

despite the gripe of the nature of how this has been released, make no mistake - Hardwired is a mighty fine and impressive album. i would suspect that any and all Metallica fans will have, like me, gone and bought this already. should you be reading this and have somehow forgotten that you quite liked the band, go right ahead and get this, in its 3 CD condition, and remember it all.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

love descends on those defenceless


should i be quite so interesting enough to have any stalkers out there, depending on to what extent their enthusiasm for this goes they will know this next bit. as part of my sort of morning ritual thing, look you see, i can be found - in an admittedly unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed state - around the grounds of outside enjoying a, this isn't good for you, etc, but no matter.

recently i have, due to the infinite generosity of Spiros, been enjoying quite the bounty of fags off an unspecified Eastern European nation, or if you like Ukraine. a full, wholesome blog on all of that shall come soon, but the point here is that my ritual was today one met, if not greeted, by a particular site.

the above are indeed the elements of tree, or if you like wood, what William claimed as his own from Cod Beck. you may wish to see the procurement of those aspects of tree, and you are quite welcome to do so by clicking here. this, the bark and the branches, is of course not of what i write today. no, it's them elements of nature that you can see upon them.

this would indeed be one of them blog posts about snow, since we are now apparently in snow season. sorry for the misleading title, but all the same google it away and find a most boss song from which it comes, if you are of a mind to do so.

yes, a smattering of snow has hit our lands. as you can see not an excessive amount, for whilst it clung to existence upon the wood the grass and soil managed to soak up all that had fallen. cars, to be sure, are not particularly known for their ability to simply "soak up" snow, and so that was a different proposition all together, i will have you know.

yep, that's the windscreen of my wheels, man, and there over in the distance you can see the mobile of choice off of my (considerably) better half.

this was not, of course, that lovely, nice, picturesque and crisp (hello, Faye) snow that is the stuff of movies and postcards. no, this was all that crappy, mostly solid ice type of snow. the one that must have at some stage inspired the creation of super glue, such is the enthusiasm with which it clutches to the surface of a windscreen.

about half an hour, ladies and gentlemen. that's how long it took me to clear off enough of this stuff this morning, armed with a tin of de-icer off of Poundland and a window scraper, to make my car reasonably safe to drive. that will teach me to not neglect putting my deflector shield windscreen protector on.

hang on, you ask, wasn't today another day of release on the vibes front? indeed it was and indeed i did.

that is my "deluxe" 3 CD copy of Hardwired To Self Destruct off of Metallica. £17.99 is what HMV charged me for it. a full "day of release" blog to follow after i have had a proper listen. for now, though, a warning - do not buy the standard 2 CD version fo £14.99. if you do you will get very annoyed as both discs of this double album, it turns out, would comfortably fit on 1 CD, going on the running time.

but hey, nice packaging, etc. more of Metallica later, no doubt over the weekend. for now, though, you want more of my plight in the snow. specifically i am assuming you want to see snow on the windscreen in VIC 20 mode. let me make that happen for you.

the snow which fell was, as no doubt you have pretty much gathered, quite limited. it was also, it would seem, quite limited to our more rural of lands in Yorkshire, as the great metropolitan centres of our area were mostly untouched by the stuff.

i say mostly. far be it from me, after all, to deny those that dwell within the more city style areas a glimpse at some snow. whereas i cleaned off the windows, i really could not be bothered to get the snow off of the roof. i mean, yeah, sure, it was going to melt and my most useful sunroof does have ever such a slight leak, but i've noticed that the puddle as a consequence of this usually forms on the passenger side, and my occasional co-pilot does not mind if he gets a bit wet.

to that extent, then, by the time that i had pulled into the luxurious, award winning car park near where i go to verk of a morning, the snow was very much still on the roof of the car.

was all that snow still there when i finished verk? no, it had gone. also it hadn't formed a puddle on the passenger seat. who knows, perhaps my theory has finally come into being and cars now really do just fix themselves as and when something goes wrong.

some suggest that snow now means a long, somewhat formidable winter ahead of us. i am unconvinced. sure, it's getting cold and will stay that way. i have, however, in the past (rather than the future) seen it be that some snow hits in November, then does not return until the following February. hey ho, what shall be and all that; it's not like anything that i say or write will influence what nature brings this way.

yes, sure, as previewed in this post, over the weekend i shall try and get some details on Ukrainian cigarettes and Metallica records on this blog for you. in the mean time, for now and at all times,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!