Monday, November 29, 2010

More Manic Melbourne

hey everyone

my good friend Mike was reading this very blog recently (nice one) and "remembered" he was supposed to send a picture or two from the gig. well, here's the one he did send!

i am led to believe this was taken with the very phone he called me from the gig on!

cheers mate!

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

a sense of perspective and an opportunity missed

There has been a flurry of press coverage of the latest “scoop” by the infamous organization WikiLeaks, and understandably so. Some 250,000 documents, mostly memos and briefs and a large number classified as “confidential”, have appeared online. They relate, for the most part, to the US Government’s views and observation on key individuals around the world.

The “revelations” are left open to some juicy, borderline sordid headlines. They are certainly embarrassing in terms of being given as a sort of “official” view, but they contain little that is earth shattering, unknown or likely to cause much of a fuss beyond the journalists recanting them. Let’s have a look at a few of them and give a sense of perspective :

Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai is "driven by paranoia" : oh, really? America has entered his country to fight a war against a faction that they assisted in arming some 20 years ago. Perhaps not so much paranoia as a healthy scepticism on display?

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is accompanied at all times by a "voluptuous blonde" Ukrainian nurse : which reads as “World leader enjoys the company and companionship of busty blondes”. JFK, anyone? World leaders and politicians attracting ladies because of their status and power is about as much a revelation as the daily sunrise.

Prince Andrew engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” : what, the man known affectionately as “Randy Andy” for over 30 years? Apparently this inappropriate behaviour relates to him being “rude” and making comments about an unspecified country. It must have been something exceptional to upset the usually brash, free voiced Americans, but all the same nothing exactly out of character or would not expect.

Angela Merkel is but dismissed as "risk-averse and rarely creative" : since 1945, Germany has sought stability and a degree of neutrality both internally and on the World stage. Rather understandable, you would have thought. And how “creative” do you wish a World leader to be?

Hillary Clinton encouraged diplomats to spy on other nations at the UN : something that has gone on unofficially ever since the UN was formed; quasi-official confirmation of this is in fairness likely to cause problems.

Saudi Arabia “encouraged” USA to invade / strike against Iran : The Middle East is, to put it mildly, an unstable region. A fair comment would be that Iran highlights much of the instability, whereas Saudi Arabia illustrates the nations seeking to reach a level of stability. Considering America’s enthusiasm for frequent military action in Iraq, well, I appreciate this being “news” but hardly a surprising revelation.

British PM David Cameron is a “lightweight” : considering, in the context of political careers, Mr Cameron is a relatively new voice (he has been Prime Minister for less than a year) so this is not unreasonable comment. Dig around and I suspect you would find Thatcher, Major and Blair were described in not too different terms around the same stage in their political careers.

There are countless other “highlights”, but there’s a cross-section of the ones that seem to be causing the most fuss.

Leaving aside for the moment the reaction the owners of WikiLeaks can expect, the more immediate reaction will be expected from incumbent US President Barack Obama. His efforts to stop these leaks was limited to requesting that the website does not do it, as it “could cost many lives”.

In slight defence of President Obama, I would agree that certain information should not be leaked or disclosed if there’s a clear, actual threat to lives by doing so. However, this argument just does not cut it with what we have seen thus far : any life that would be lost because of what is contained in these documents would be lost anyway. These are all reflective reports and are purely commentary; nothing in them relates to future potential actions or danger zones.

Thus far, Obama the “great reformer” has been limited to a certain level of success in his often appeared to be only grand plan, American Healthcare Reform. Is only other achievement appears to have been the daily lashing of BP for an oil leak that turned out not to be entirely the fault of BP after all. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to all of this.

The story that all and sundry seem to be missing is how exactly it has taken so long for all this information to be leaked into an open forum. That would be just how sorely lacking US Security is. For all their fuss about “full body scans” and x-raying shoes of average tourists, these documents were on something called ‘SPIR-Net’, a supposedly secure network that over 2,000,000 people had access to. Three people can certainly keep a secret if two of them happen to be dead, said Oscar Wilde. With so many people having access, it’s a wonder that only now did someone walk out with copies of the documents, on a CD marked “Lady GaGa”, apparently. This must surely be the bigger concern and bigger story than these, in the grand scheme of things, trivial, reactionary comments.

One Italian politician has taken it upon himself to declare these leaks as being “the September 11th of diplomatic relations”. This is a quote that the down-market, more sensationalist of tabloid newspapers have taken to heart. If these documents, which essentially suggest for the most part tend not to like anyone in particular, cause the kind of global ramifications the events of 2001 did, well then the world is a good deal more fragile and unstable than even the most negative of pessimists would have ever dared to suggest.

The WikiLeaks site suggests that many, many more documents shall soon be leaked, some of them relating to European nations commenting on each other. We shall just have to wait and see if they are of a similar ilk to that which has been revealed. As for the rights and wrongs of WikiLeaks doing all of this, well, for the most part I shall leave it to you to drawn your own conclusions. As there seems to be no intent of malice or profit in regards of what they publish I would be happy to accept their sincerity in regards of their claim that they do this purely because they believe nothing should be kept secret unnecessarily, but I do sometimes wonder if the actual content is worth the time and effort they clearly go through.

If you decide to read more or all of their revelations, happy reading!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

51 weeks later......

hey everyone

well, this is a little bit late, but last Thursday saw William celebrate 51 weeks of being with us. i thought i had better get some pictures of him on that day before he went off to be an all big, grown up one year old!

he was quite interested in what i was doing with the camera, hence this close up!

however, he was much more interested in doing some crawling, in particular in the direction of rooms that he is not supposed to crawl into unattended!

James, however, was quite happy to pose for a picture or two, in particular as it allowed him to show off a splendid new toy aeroplane he had got with his dinner!

no doubt later this week there will be many pictures of William celebrating turning one year old, but for the mean time today we had the distinct pleasure of going to the birthday party ofone of his friends from daycare, Rahil.

i ws quite chuffed to get this next picture, i think it looks ace!

we went to a place called (i think) Yeesh!, and i must say we all enjoyed it. the place appears to be a large sort of factory warehouse place which has been converted into one great big giant jungle gym. this is something which impressed James very much indeed!

William was equally taken with the place too! he sometimes forgets that he can more or less walk these days - give him a ball to chase over some mats and off he goes!

the party was nothing short of fantastic, and a very big thanks indeed to Rahil's mother and father for their generous hospitality!

we are all rather worn out from the day, but what a way to be worn out! rather having a great time than being stuck on a highway, i guess!

hope whatever you did over the weekend left you as happy and content as our weekend has!

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

I'm Still Here

the apparently spontaneous announcement from Joaquin Phoenix, a couple of years ago or so, that he was retiring from acting is pretty well known knowledge for those that follow any sort of film news. the fact that this was part of a film project, now released under the name I'm Still Here, was for a while somewhat lesser known.

although this review will be laced with spoilers, you are perhaps for a change encouraged to read it anyway in order to make some sense of the film. not that i claim to be any sort of expert on it, but watching it with limited knowledge would strike me as being a rather frustrating experience.

nonetheless, for everything below the poster, consider yourselves the recipients of a *** SPOILER WARNING ***.

to get the obvious out of the way first, yes it's true - both director Casey Affleck and star Joaquin Phoenix have declared the whole of I'm Still Here, from the acting retirement through to the proposed rap / hip hop career of Joaquin to be a hoax. a lengthy hoax that lasted some 18 months. this would leave the question, then, of why exactly go to such elaborate lengths?

the answer, or at least the one given, was that Joaquin was struck by "just how badly acted" any given so-called 'Reality' TV show is, and he wanted to strip away the idea or notion anyone might have that what they see on these 'Reality' shows is anything but badly scripted and very badly acted trash.

whereas most would just state that in an interview, or perhaps even go and make a run of the mill spoof of the subject of their contempt, celebrated actor Casey Affleck and uber-celebrated actor Joaquin Phoenix decided to immerse themselves in the realm of creating a fake 'Reality' feature at great expense. this expense was of course financial, but also reputational too, as Joaquin in particular has dragged his own name through the mud to do this, most notably with an infamous non-appearance appearance on The David Letterman Show.

the only real question in regards of a review of the end product is perhaps was all of this worth it? yes and no, really. no because the film in itself, with no prior knowledge of what was going on, isn't frequently entertaining or interesting. even if you watch it slightly aware of the retirement of Joaquin Phoenix, it seems to labour a good deal more than it should do to make a basic point.

however, there's also a "yes" to it being worthwhile. the failings and the frustrations of the film means that, from the perspective of the makers, it is indeed a qualified success. the offered glimpses of the "real" Joaquin are clearly as poorly acted as he was capable of, and the only real parts of entertainment ("working" with Puff Daddy or whatever he calls himself now, the fight at a concert, the TV appearances) are clearly all well stage-managed, planned and precisely scripted.

the only parts of any "Reality" TV show or documentary which are in fact interesting and entertaining are those which have been specifically created for it. I'm Still Here is a bizarre, ironic post-modernist slice of proof of this.

to a large extent, the end product of this project, namely the film itself, is largely irrelevant. web search away for articles - Joaquin managed to keep in the news for over a year despite doing nothing much in particular bar grow a beard and on very few instances (two, i believe) mumble some obscenities into a microphone whilst some conventional hip hop backbeats played as backing to him. the 21st century phenomenon of "cult of celebrity" and this lowest common denominator obsession with "Reality" TV actually being something worthwhile was ruthlessly exposed as the shallow, hollow concepts they are.

that said, my overall impression is that the film isn't particularly worth the effort and investment put into it. at a superficial level the whole thing plays like one big home movie Joaquin and his mates have made to amuse themselves. you don't particularly ever get invited to share the joke, really. i mean, i believe i understand the point they were trying to make with this, but as previously mentioned, the two of them have spent two years making a point they could very easily have made in a twenty minute interview with any of the magazines and TV shows who have with passion reported any and all non-news about Joaquin whilst he made all of this.

whereas i have no doubt that Casey Affleck will continue on as normal after the fuss around I'm Still Here has died down (if there is any fuss), it will be interesting to see where Joaquin goes next. he has, sadly, shaved the elaborate beard off, which is a great shame as there were times in the film i thought he could play a very convincing Stanley Kubrick in a biopic. a lot of people suspect he might have burnt all bridges with his film career in doing this, but that's unlikely, considering how well liked, respected and indeed connected he is. after all, Sean Penn announced his retirement from acting back in the 80s - two Oscars and a shedload of quality performances since shows just how much attention the film industry pays to that sort of thing.

I'm Still Here is not the best or most enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes or so of your life. however, as it appears to have been a carefully planned disaster of a film, it doesn't warrant an outright dismissal from you when choosing a film to watch. for better or worse, it is unlikely that we shall ever see the likes of this on film again - if for no other reason, that alone makes it worthy of consideration.

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

now that Lennon's on sale again....

it's not often that i get spooked or disturbed by news, but having read the news today i have a distinct feeling that something is rather wrong.

it has been announced that, for a price in excess of £500,000.00, a signed copy of John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy album is up for sale.

the reason for the high price, and for this being so disturbing, is because it is the signed copy of the album. the one Lennon signed for Mark Chapman a few hours before Chapman murdered him.

the album is covered in police markings and annotations, the least of which is not forensic highlighting of Chapman's fingerprints. it is a slice of evidence for one of the darkest days that the world had known.

the current "owner" has decided to sell it due to an increase in death threats against them, something in itself which is macabre and disturbing considering what this item represents.

whereas i don't join in with the usual beautification and all praise celebration of the man (he was deeply flawed, to say the least), i do appreciate and respect John Lennon for what he tried to do, which was make the world a better place. i also see the senseless shooting of him as the single biggest argument for taking every firearm in the world, dropping them in a huge hole in the middle of nowhere and never allowing one to be seen on the face of our planet ever again.

i really do not understand why it is that this item is allowed to be in the hands of a private collector. if one accepts that the historical significance of this album means that it should not be destroyed, then rather being locked away it should be put on public display somewhere.

Forrest Gump may very well be one of the most trashy, exploitative films ever made, but in regards of John Lennon there was one line that summed up the tragedy of his murder : "One day, that young man from Eng-a-land was on his way home, when somebody shot him, somebody shot that nice man for no particular reason.". this copy of Double Fantasy belongs in a museum or as part of a memorial and should be seen by all as a permanent testament about the stupidity of a senseless act and the tragedy of it all.

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

concert time

hey everyone

well, over the next few months down here we have the likes of U2, Duran Duran, Roxette, Neil Diamond and The Beach Boys on their way to do a few concerts. that's pretty good news for fans of live entertainment, but not really a match for the concert we had the distinct honour of attending last weekend!

and just what is it that we saw that could be better than Simon le Bon being Simon le Bon? better than Bono standing and telling you how you should all follow his high moral outlook and lifestyle with the exception of his elaborate "tax management" system? why, that would be the usual school concert featuring James of course!

the concerts James does at school are usually great entertainment, but this year they went "extra special mega" as it were, hiring a hall at a nearby primary school and really pulling out all the stops for the production.

some of the set deserves a bit of a closer inspection!

if the Magic School Bus looks impressive, it jolly well should, for Michele designed the name and the stars you see along the side! it's across both sides too, as they were unsure as to which way it would face on the stage! i certainly hope you think it looks impressive, as much of my printers' ink was sacrificed to produce the initial versions and this final one!

a special mention too for the palm tree branches you can see on the front of the stage. up until the afternoon of the concert they were quite happily minding their own business in our garden!

now, as for actual pictures of the concert itself, i must say that, alas, i have not many. i was too busy filming the concert to take all that many pictures, and Michele was of course busy trying to contain William's enthusiasm for crawling and trying to walk everywhere! i did, however, get a quick snap of James at the interval!

all of the children did an exceptionally good job with their parts, and full credit indeed to all the teachers who have put so much hard work into this, encouraging the children and doing rehearsal after rehearsal!

William more or less enjoyed it too!

whereas William is a little too young to be in the concert itself at this stage, he did spend a good portion of the show standing on Mummy's legs, dancing away!

and yes, family members, copies of the disc with the concert on shall be sent to you as soon as possible!!!!

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

the bong shop

hey everyone

Dad has sent on several pictures from the rather splendid looking and superb sounding place that is known as Dubai. of all the magnificent buildings and exotic aquatic life he's forwarded, however, there is really only one picture i can put up here. behold, ladies and gentlemen, the bong shop of Dubai....

off the top of my head, i could name about six, perhaps seven, friends who will be looking at this and thinking straight away about how exactly they are going to get to Dubai in the very near future.

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

postcards from Melbourne

hey everyone

well, as i was doing all sorts on Saturday i got a most pleasant phone call from my good chum Mike in Melbourne. whereas it's always good to hear from him, it is particularly class to get a call whilst he's watching and listening to a rather good band!

Mike & his good lady wife had the distinct honour of going to see the Manic Street Preachers on their current Australia tour and, knowing what a fan i am, decided to give me a call so that i could hear a bit of it. nice one!

i believe the song Mike allowed me to hear a part of was Some Kind Of Nothingness, which is the next single from their latest album. erm, whereas it isn't a particularly bad song as such, it's also a song that i would probably opt to head off to the bar and call a mate whilst playing too!

Mike has said he will send on some of the pics he took, but in the mean time these images are from the splendid looking faster louder site.

cheers again for the call, mate! hearing from you and the Manics at the same time - talk about two for the price of one!

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


hey everyone

James, Michele and William were messing about on the trampoline earlier in the week. James got quite excited about the idea of taking a picture of them, so i gave it a go!

alas, the "safety net" around the trampoline, which is there for good reason if you are aware of how James jumps on it, meant that the pics were not as clear as they could be, as you can see above.

i had a bit of a brainwave, and thus off up the stairs i went to snap away from our bedrooom window, using the zoom! normally this means the pictures come out blurry for me, but it seems i may have got it right for a change!

otherwise, since i am doing an update, here's William in his rather dapper purple t-shirt!

he is much better now, thankfully! William is also just about "there" with his walking!

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Katie!

hey everyone

well, leaving aside the great significane for us Bowiephiles that Five Years has, let us all rejoice and say a very happy birthday indeed to my dear, oldest niece, Katie!

perhaps, however, the good people of New Zealand are quite taken with Mr Bowie's song mentioned, for it seems that on the day you turn five over there, it's all change! whereas most places, i think, have you go to "big school" in the year that you turn a certain age, in New Zealand it seems you head off on the academic journey offered on the day of your fifth birthday!

and so, to that end, Katie bid a fond farewell to the magnificent playschool / daycare place that she had been going to and indeed enjoying.

my dear sister, of course, never really needs an excuse to deliver some baking to mark an event, and Katie leaving playschool was no different at all. here is the impressive pyramid of fairy cakes she had baked for the occasion!

they look very, very yummy! i am sure we could make something almost as half as good here, but alas switching the oven on seems to switch the power off in our house at the moment!

on the subject of fairies, however, Katie had a most splendid party at the weekend, with entertainment provided by no less than Fairy Jessica, who you can find the details of if you click on her name there. i think, i did an interwebnet search and that seems to be her!

it looks like Fairy Jessica provides some excellent, grade "A" high quality entertainment for the party! Daniel, in his secret disguise as the Batman of New Zealand, seems to be having none of it, though!

which might turn out to be a bit of a shame, and indeed loss, for Daniel, as it looks like Ms Jessica does a fine line in making excellent balloon swords!

i dare say mostly Gillian, but also Grant, are rather exhausted after the party for Katie, but it looks all worthwhile and it certainly seems that all and sundry had fun! the most important person would be the birthday girl, of course, and as far as i can tell, Katie's outlook is to have a good time all the time!

lovely! thanks for all the pictures, and glad to see that you have all clearly had a really good time! i think the only thing missing was probably us lot! no doubt we shall all get together and be there one day!

crumbs, this means that James shall turn five in a month!

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

Friday, November 12, 2010

hope you like the new direction!


well, regular readers may note the look of this site has changed for the first time in ages, if not ever.

i noticed that the "older posts" button no longer appeared, so things posted in the first two weeks of any given month tended to disappear. this new template has an older posts button, so off you go!

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

more Tin Machine memories..

hey everyone

one of the things i have tried to convey to people was exactly how close i was fortunate enough to be able to get to the great David Bowie at the Tin Machine gig i went to (see earlier post, November 5). thanks to a search in regards of the darker arts of the internet, i can sort of show you!

i am led to believe that a very, very good bootleg recording of the gig i was at is available. whereas i have thus far, sadly, been unable to find it, i did find this magnificent site. it has a number of pics from the gig i was at!

if memory serves, i was more or less in a straight line along from where the person who kindly took these pictures was stood, off to the right. somewhere inbetween a direct line of sight between Bowie and Reeves Gabrels in the pic below, obviously leaning more towards a glimpse of Bowie!

so that means, ladies, i indeed had a very, very good view of David "doing his thing" in the picture below!

wow, what a find! if only i could find the recording of the actual concert somewhere!

many thanks and exceptional gratitude indeed to whoever took these images and put them up on the net!

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

Beady Eye debut - worth every penny

So, a year and a bit after the spectacular, already legendary guitar smashing fight that brought about the end of rock giants Oasis, we have the first slice of, and i use the word with caution, original music from a former member. The sensible money was on the brains of the operation, Noel, pursuing a solo career more or less straightaway. that didn't happen - one charity gig where he did some Oasis numbers on an acoustic guitar is all we've had. Noel's also let it be known that he's more interested in parenting than making music at the moment, which is fair enough.

It's a statement which has also left the stage open for Liam to step out of the shadow of the band with his seperate venture. Considering that Liam has been (a) busy with clothes labels, making films and accepting awards and (b) let's face it, prone to delivering vast sums of bulls*** from his mouth, no one really expected him to get organized enough or find the time to do a band or record. Credit where it is due though, for he and the remnants of the last standing version of Oasis have unleashed upon the world a new band, Beady Eye.

Going one further than just simply forming a band for the sake of it, Liam and his chums have even gone and recorded something, a song called Bring The Light. Mindful of buzz and publicity being more valuable (sadly) than singles sales these days, the band have decided to give the song away for free on their website. A nice gesture to the fans it may be, but the title of this post has been worded very carefully.

Now, consider yourselves warned - this review shall indeed feature Oasis comparisons and references. It would be stupid not to - if no Beatle could ever escape comparison to what they did as the Fab Four, what hope either Liam or Noel?

so, how does it sound?

Bring The Light somehow conspires to get very monotonous very quickly into the three and a bit minutes it exists for. It's a basic rock song of limited musical interest. It features an absolutely horrid attempt at a guitar solo from Andy Bell, a man Alan McGee compared to Jimmy Page. It features Liam straining to sound like a Marlboro overloaded John Lennon even more than he was ever allowed to on an Oasis record. The lyrics are of a standard that the most ardent of Liam-haters shall relish, for they are awful. Even the swearing Liam brings into it all just sounds plain dull. The financial implications of just recording it and giving it away for free must have been just ever so slightly less than going to the extent of pressing any actual physical copy that few who had heard it beforehand would contemplate handing money over for.

Oh dear. The tragedy here is that the music world is so stale and dull these days that you really need someone like Liam, a figure hated and loved in equal measure for over 16 years, to succeed. You want him to get things mixed up, get everyone at it, make it all interesting again. It's a shame to see him present something that will do nothing but give ammunition to the many Oasis / rock haters out in the world.

The only bit of hope here is that Beady Eye are being delayed by Liam's numerous side ventures, and this is literally the best they could manage to record with limited time. With some luck, as and when the Beady Eye debut album comes into being this will be shown up as the worst track they've done. If it turns out to be their best, expect their debut to be their departure too.

Of course, there's the small matter of how Liam will deal with anyone being critical of what he's released. I dare say he shall respond with the usual charm and sophistication we've come to expect from him. Something like this, I imagine....

The interesting thing about the Oasis split is that the fans, on the whole, wish to see neither brother fail. We're pretty much guaranteed that Noel will deliver superb songs, whereas Liam will deliver basic rock with a million entertaining stories to go with it. To this end, I suppose that Bring The Light is just slightly worse than what we could have expected from him, really.

Beady Eye's debut might very well be better than an awful lot of the fabricated, plastic, sampled rubbish out there at the moment. That, however, is not enough to make the song a masterpiece.

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

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nasher - A Lo Minimo

hey everyone

well, this is a review of the latest in a rare breed - solo albums from a member of the sadly long since gone band Frankie Goes To Hollywood. it will not take you very long to work out that of course i'm going to encourage you to go off and buy it! hopefully my comments below will show why you should, and indeed persuade one or two of you to invest in it, if you can find a copy!

A Lo Minimo is Nasher's third solo album since he resumed a more or less full on music career around the dawn of 2000. his first two, Ripe and Le Grande Fromage (the latter containing an absolute gem, Top Of The Pops Again) were well received, popular sounding yet clearly personal albums. i wouldn't wish to bog down this review with they whys and whatnots of Nasher's return to music so late post-Frankie and all that, but you are welcome (and indeed encouraged) to read some insightful interviews and reviews at his website.

this new album departs from the "popular" sound of his previous albums, but retains a clearly personal touch. the fact that a "popular" sound has been dropped for this outing shouldn't suggest that the album is not easy to get into - far from it. the minimalist sound (note - not strictly speaking acoustic) is intriguing, as is the cheeky "borrowing" of the drums off Bowie's Five Years on the opening track.

that said, it's hard to advise you of any one particular stand out track on the album. at the great risk of offending Nasher, there's no one song that stands head and shoulders above all others. happily, however, there's no bum notes or weak tracks - there is never a wish or desire to hit the skip button at any point. if, however, you are not compelled to buy the whole album yet and want to hear one or two tracks, i believe some sites allow you to buy the songs one by one, in particular CD Baby. if you feel like sampling, i recommend you buy and "download" (is that the right term?) either Airplane and/or in particular Black Eyes. try either of those and like them then congratulations, you will pretty much enjoy the whole album.

the best compliment that i can give the album - and this is intended as one - is that it's my new "background" music, and has been for the week or so that i have had it. no small thing that, considering i am also sat with Bowie's Station To Station reissue, as well as the new Manics album and Freebass, the latter i hope to post a review of soon-ish. A Lo Minimo has become my first choice for play on an evening when i am sat reading a paper or writing away, and indeed was on repeat play last week in the car, when the car still quite liked the idea of working (see previous post). as other albums which have held this place on my stereo have included Marillion's Misplaced Childhood and The Who's opus, Tommy, it is not like the album is in bad company.

now, if i have convinced you to give Nasher's new album a try, getting your hands on it could be tricky. Nasher has his own label, Babylon Pink, and so far pressings of the album has been limited. i was fortunate enough to be able to order it from Amazon, but they seem to frequently be out of stock. The previously mentioned CD Baby is the place to go to purchase one of these "digital copies" of it, and you might get the CD there too.

Update : for those of you in a country where apple will sell you songs as well as equipment (unlike here), you can also get the album or tracks from iTunes.

for the more adventurous of you, or at least those of you connected to the grand social network thing, you can of course contact Nasher directly. as well as details of this album, and indeed his upcoming (and very tasty sounding) autobiography, you can go there to get details of gigs Nasher's doing.

although of course any musician or band would love to have a record that is popular as, and subsequently sells, anything around a fraction of what his former band did in the 80s, Nasher's clearly long past caring about that side of it. he's a man who loves music, and loves making music for those who enjoy it. if you're a bit tired of the music scene being dominated by sub-one hit wonders who have been on a tv talent show, or whose reputation and presence seem to vastly exceed any actual talent, then giving A Lo Minimo is what will wake you up - the sound of a man enjoying making music just to be enjoyed for what it is.

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

up, down and out.....

hey everyone

well, to give you something of a prelude for a post that could turn out to be pretty long, how do you stand on omens? you know, warning signs, things like that? bear this in mind as you read on for an account of a curious Sunday!

first up, though, a picture i took last week of the boys. it's not often we catch them together with both prepared to look more or less at the camera, but here you go!

smart, in particular as there is not the usual tell-tale hand of Michele or i holding on to William! William's balance is getting a good deal better, James is listening and not pulling and shoving William too much!

right, on to Sunday, then. as Michele had not yet had the chance to meet the newest member of our family, Ruby Lee Valentine, we decided to take a trip up to tropical Middelburg to see everyone. this was particularly brave for those who know me reasonably well - whereas Michele is quite good with them, my sense of direction is poor, and i am prone to panic and worry when heading somewhere that i am not quite sure of.

which is where the omen/signs thing comes in, really. Richard sent us through excellent directions, and Michele was confident that she could navigate. however, we had an odd circumstance where i had to point out the right way! that's a first, and probably last! more on how this could have been an omen later....

we had an absolutely ace time up in Middelburg, thanks to Richard, Erika, Lyla and Ruby Lee! Richard, who has asked me not to mention that he was, or show any pictures of him, drinking shandy, knows that his brother really loves ribs, and thus he was happy to oblige with a vast quantity of ribs to eat!

Richard was concerned because he inadvertently picked up a back of beef ribs with pork ribs. i said fear not, for ribs are ribs, and thus i ate as many as possible!

now, as far as one of the main reasons for a visit, Michele did indeed get to meet Ruby Lee at last! it did occur to me as we got there what if Ruby Lee decided to just sleep the whole afternoon? she does like her sleep (which is something she gets from her Dad, no question), so it was a possibility!

Ruby Lee did wake up for a bit, i am happy to say, and thus Michele and Erika did a bit of a "baby swap" thing for a little while!

needless to say, Michele has been as taken and impressed with Ruby Lee as all who have met her are! glad the two got to meet in the end! oh, for the record, Michele didn't go up with us the last time as she had something called (i think) conjunctivitis, which basically made it seem like she had met Joe Bugner and had somehow conspired to offend him a great deal.

fear not, those of you who might have thought that the baby swap was some sort of formal thing, for William was soon back with Mummy and, with some help from James, rather keen to show off how close he is getting to walking about on his own!

William is getting rather independent, in so much as he wishes to do everything he can for himself - walking, deciding what to eat, feeding himself and so on. you are eleven months old, son! slow down!

on Sunday, it has to be said, he was getting as hot as he was independent. oh dear! just as well that Lyla had her most excellent swimming pool up so that William could dip his toes and try and cool down a bit!

that helped a bit, but it was clearly not just the splendid Middelburg weather making him feel warm. when we (eventually) got home, his temperature really spiked, and he started bringing up. oh dear.

a trip to the doctor today revealed that William is at the threshold of a case of tonsillitis. James suffered with this a great deal between 1 and 3, and with some good fortune seems to be "over it". fingers crossed that he remains that way, and that indeed William is not a regular visitor to this terrible infection. his temperature remains high, but not as high as it was getting on Sunday, if that makes sense. i will be staying at home with him tomorrow to try and keep it down and hopefully help him feel better.

now then, to go back a bit, the trip home was certainly something else. it was all going ever so well until we got some 10 or 20 kms away from home. then my car, bless it, just decided to stop. in the middle lane of one of the most insane stretches of highway in the world, where everyone drives like a total lunatic. the N1 from Centurion, just after the Old Jhb turnoff for those in this area - you know, the one with nothing but blind curves and spots caused by the hill, where everyone seems to break the speed limit in the hope of avoiding something.

as it turns out, there is something called a "cam belt", which i am led to believe has an alternative name in the form of a "timing belt", in the car's engine, and mine had decided it was tired of life. it looks quite simple :

but by all accounts is rather expensive and time consuming to replace. oh dear.

now, my apologies if this next bit rambles on. perhaps it's intended to be cathartic or theraputic, i don't know. we were really stuck. no one had any interest in stopping and helping, let alone just stopping so that i could push the car to the safety of the emergency lane - or rather the lane that has been closed off for "road works". it was terrifying watching cars fly at us and past us, since all four of us were in the car and it was getting darker and darker.

indeed, one total lunatic was really flying. travelling at high speeds, we got to watch one of the worst idiots on the road ever head at full speed towards a lot of stopped cards a kilometer or so in front of us, slam breaks, swerve around a few times, go up and embankment and eventually land on its roof. a very large number of the predators of the road, tow trucks, turned up to see if they could cash in there. no matter how much i signalled that we needed assistance, they were not interested in turning around or crossing over to help us - i guess just a "normal" breakdown doesn't mean you get to rip off dazed accident victims and insurance companies, does it?

i was thrilled when eventually a pick up truck from the road works stopped behind us, figuring they would give us a hand. alas, not. they for some reason decided to shout at me for stopping in the middle of the highway (!) and couldn't understand, when i explained to them that we had more broken down than stopped, we hadn't pushed the car to the side. when i showed them the large number of cars flying past either side of us, they eventually - with some reluctance - agreed to stop the traffic so we could push it to one side. they then promptly f****d off without a word or offering to do anything to help.

it's also worth noting that, despite their promises of an "increased presence" on the highways, there was not one visible police car anywhere near this stretch of highway, a stretch notorious for accidents. nope, they didn't come past and see us, and nor did any turn up for the horror accident we saw. the fire bridage, for some reason, were left to be responsible for the reports and checking of the accident. they probably had some urgent, top level burgers to inspect at the service station over the hill from where we were, or otherwise were no doubt making sure speed limits were enforced to the full on some empty stretch of road. oh hang on! of course, the police were probably off closing down "twitter", google and the internet in general on the instructions of one of the most curious politicians the world has ever seen....

thankfully, Mum & Dad came to our rescue - Mum took the boys and Michele home, Dad managed to succeed where i failed and persuaded one of the tow truck drivers to come and pull the car away to a garage. nice one Mum & Dad, we would have been really stuck without your help!

well, there you have it! an experience, certainly! whereas i would be delighted to visit Middelburg again in the near future, James needless to say is quite concerned about going on any long trips ever again!

with some luck i will get to report that William is much better in the next day or so. fingers crossed that i can, at the least. as for the car, well, once again, veyr big thanks to Mum and Dad for helping!

thanks for reading! hope your Sunday reflected the more enjoyable parts of mine!

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