Monday, 24 December 2012

The Literary Life 2012

Quotation of the day ~ Anthony Powell: Books do furnish a room.

I'm a list freak. I keep track of almost everything, with the possible exception of my chequing account -- which could explain a few things. So here's a list of every book i read in 2012 (in chronological order):

Judy Collins – Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life In Music*
Ian Rankin – The Hanging Garden*
Walter Isaacson – Steve Jobs*
Michael Westerfield – The Language Of Crows*
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit
Stephen Pile – The Return Of Heroic Failures
Nicolas Freeling – Those In Peril
Martin Amis – The Moronic Inferno
D.M. Thomas – The White Hotel
Arthur C. Clarke – Childhood's End
Josef Skvorecky – The Bass Saxophone
Ian Rankin – Resurrection Men*
Ian Rankin – Blood Hunt*
Michael Morpurgo – War Horse*
Tony Geraghty – Who Dares Wins: The Story Of The SAS 1950-1980
C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters
Maj Sjőwall & Per Wahlőő – Murder At The Savoy
Ian Rankin – A Good Hanging And Other Stories*
Richard Boston – Beer And Skittles
David Lodge – The Picturegoers
Keith Laumer – It's A Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy
Ian Rankin – Beggars Banquet*
Ian Rankin – The Falls*
Levon Helm w. Stephen Davis – This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm And The Story Of The Band*
Ian Rankin – Witch Hunt*
Thomas Harris – Hannibal Rising*
Ian Rankin – Knots And Crosses
Ian Rankin – Hide And Seek
Ian Rankin – Tooth And Nail
Ian Rankin – Strip Jack
Gyles Brandreth – Great Theatrical Disasters
Gary Zukav – The Dancing Wu Li Masters
Ian Rankin – The Black Book
Ian Rankin – Bleeding Hearts*
Anne Enright – Yesterday's Weather*
Marcus Connaughton – Rory Gallagher: His Life And Times*
Ian Rankin – Rebus's Scotland: A Personal Journey*
Ian Rankin – Mortal Causes
Lily King The English Teacher*
Ian Rankin – Standing In Another Man's Grave*

(Books read for the first time are indicated by an asterisk.)

And what (i hear you ask) was my favourite of the new books?  

Let me begin with my least favourite while i ponder the matter. Lily King's "The English Teacher" was 100% tedious and a struggle to finish, but with the tenacity i'm notorious for, i completed it ... and promptly gave it away.

Most disappointing, i'm sorry to say, was Ian Rankin's "Standing In Another Man's Grave," his new Rebus novel. I'm a huge fan of Rankin's and in fact i've begun the process of re-reading all of the Rebus novels in their proper order. I hasten to add that there's nothing wrong with the new book, he remains an excellent storyweaver.  Perhaps i was expecting more.

Best book? Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs gets the nod, the much-coveted Spriggs Award. Jobs was a fascinating character, a marketing genius if not a computer wiz (it was his partner Steve Wozniak who built the world's first personal computer) -- a contradictory man, obnoxious at times, driven and demanding and occasionally living in what his colleagues would call a "reality distortion field." It's a compelling read.


And the playlist:
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Messin'
Thunder -- Live At Donington '92
Melissa Etheridge - Brave And Crazy
Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Steeleye Span - Winter
Rory Gallagher - Top Priority
Quintessence - In Blissful Company
Saga - Saga

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Coming Soon....

Quotation Of the Day ~ John Lennon: We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.

Hi, everyone.

It's almost that time of year again -- the time for the Spriggsblog "best of" posts.  So i've been looking at the lists (yes, i'm a list freak) of every book i read in 2012, every film i watched, every CD i bought.  It's gonna be a tough choice, but i'll have it up soon.

Meanwhile, all i have for you is a playlist:

Roxy Music - Viva!
Eddi Reader - Eddi Reader
Blind Blake - Ragtime Guitar's Foremost Fingerpicker
Thunder - The Rare, The Raw And The Rest
City Boy - Dinner At The Ritz
Sky - Sky
Rory Gallagher - Jinx
Various - Let's Move
America - Back Pages
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (box set, disc 1)
Mike Oldfield - Amarok
Humble Pie - Performance: Rockin' The Fillmore
Joe Bonamassa - A New Day Yesterday
City Boy - Young Men Gone West
Maddy Prior - Live At Cecil Sharp House, 2008
Rory Gallagher - Calling Card
Thunder - Donnington 1992
Shooglenifty - Solar Shears
Big Country - Live In Newcastle
Rory Gallagher - Defender
Matchbox Twenty - North
Marillion  - Sounds That Can't Be Made
Joe Bonamassa - Black Rock
Jeff Beck - There And Back
Van der Graaf Generator - The Box, disc 3
 
Oh, and a new pic of the love of my life Andreea Raducan, who sent me two Christmas greetings this year 


The most beautiful woman i have ever seen, i think....




Sunday, 2 December 2012

Grey And Greene

Quotation Of The Day ~ Graham Greene: Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't, why should we? They talk about people and the proletariat; I talk about the suckers and the mugs. It's the same thing.  

And, in my sartorial splendour today, i was dressed entirely in grey and green. I looked good (though i say it myself).  And i've been desperately trying to come up with some kind of wordplay that would bounce around grey and green and Graham Greene.  Unfortunately, i can't think of anything.

Probably lucky for you.

It was a nice idea, though....

Here's the playlist:

Sass Jordan - Get What You Give
Matchbox Twenty - North
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Saga - 20/20
The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues Outtakes
City Boy - Dinner At The Ritz
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Live!
Kula Shaker - Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts
King Crimson - The ConstruKction [sic] Of Light
Various - Lake Michigan Blues, disc 1
Steeleye Span - Cogs, Wheels And Lovers
Thin Lizzy - Still Dangerous
Sally Oldfield - In Concert
Fairport Convention - Acoustically Down Under
Various Artists - The Roots Of Paul McCartney
Sarah Fimm - A Perfect Dream
Fairport Convention - Angel Delight
David Gilmour - On An Island
City Boy - Dinner At The Ritz
Bruce Guthro - Of Your Son
Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Rapture
This Mortal Coil - Filigree & Shadow
Yes - Talk
Les Paul & Friends - American Made, World Played
Sandy Denny - A Boxful Of Treasures, disc 4




Thursday, 22 November 2012

Smartphone! Stupiduser!

Quotation Of The Day ~ Steve Jobs: Stay hungry. Stay foolish

Up until a month or so ago, i had never, ever owned a mobile device of any kind.  No, it's true. I saw no need for one.  Heck, i wouldn't even have a landline if it weren't a necessity.  (Hardly anyone ever calls me anyway, apart from telemarketers -- who seem to have a magical sense of knowing when i'm eating my dinner...).  

Besides, i don't have a lot of respect for cellphone users.  I think they look really daft walking down the street talking or texting on their device, and i saw this at Bentley's (pub) a while back: a man and a woman, obviously on a date, and the woman spent a vast amount of time yapping into her 'phone.  The man didn't look too impressed; i merely thought they were ridiculous.

Plus, imagine going to a music concert of, say, Albinoni, and, just at the most chilling & spine-tingling moment of his Adagio, someone's 'phone rings. It would (i submit, m'Lud) be justifiable homicide.

That said, i was in Kelsey's (pub) a wee while back, and a couple of my friends who work there were on a break and using their 'phones and i was intrigued, and i asked about them. And they extolled their virtues and (respecting their opinions) i started to think about it.

Email & Internet through a fondleslab -- it started to appeal to me more and more.

And, the upshot is, i am now the proud owner of one of these:

Yes, a Samsung Galaxy III.  I haven't played with it much yet, though.  I found it very frustrating, i couldn't figure out how to do much. (Remember, i've never owned one of these things before.)  And then, i somehow managed to screw it up so that i no longer could connect to the Internet -- which kinda sorta makes it pretty much useless.

And so, i ordered this book, and Mr Postman delivered it today:

 

I will be reading it avidly! (I ordered it from www.bookdepository.com, an outfit based in Guernsey [although the book was shipped from Gloucester] [?] -- great service, free shipping, i recommend them.)

Here's the playlist (cos i know you care):

P.J. Harvey - To Bring You My Love
Chris Foster - Outsiders
Quintessence - In Blissful Company
Steve Hackett -- Watcher Of The Skies
Allan Holdsworth - None Too Soon
Santana - Guitar Heaven
Big Country - Glasgow's Big Day Out (ssh! a bootleg)
The Trews - Hope & Ruin
Rory Gallagher - Blueprint
Sass Jordan - From Dusk Til Dawn

Monday, 19 November 2012

A New Danger Of Smoking

Quotation Of The Day ~ Clement Freud: If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer.

I smoke cigarettes.  I wish i'd never started but i did, when i was about fourteen.  And yes, i am well aware of the health warnings, but i'm not ready to quit yet <koff>.

Health warnings, we're bombarded with them, but there's a new hazard which i only just discovered recently.  I was sitting outside at work today, smoking and coughing happily, when a bird shat on my head.  Health & Welfare Canada never mentioned anything about that!

Here's the playlist:

Billy Talent - Dead Silence
Rory Gallagher - Blueprint
Dead Can Dance - Anastasis
Refugee - BBC Live In Concert
Julie Driscoll - Julie Driscoll
Rory Gallagher - Against The Grain
Fish - Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors
Matchbox Twenty - Mad Season
"From Russia With Love" (soundtrack album)
The Best Of Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Van der Graaf Generator - Alt
Mike Oldfield - Music Of The Spheres
Santana - Zebop!
Big Wreck - Albatross
Joe Bonamassa - Driving Towards The Daylight
Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
Van der Graaf Generator -- The Box: Bless The Baby Born Today
Van der Graaf Generator -- The Box: The Tower Reels
Ray Davies - Working Man's Cafe
Ragnarok - Fjarilar I Magen
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - In The Hot Seat






Sunday, 11 November 2012

Just A Playlist

Quotation Of The Day: Russian Proverb ~ “There cannot be not enough snacks, There can only be not enough vodka. There can be no silly jokes, There can only be not enough vodka. There can be no ugly women, There can only be not enough vodka. There cannot be too much vodka, There can only be not enough vodka.”

After a day at the shop that was so busy it was ridiculous, i seriously wanted to go for a pint, and i almost went to the pub, i was half-way there but then i veered off.  I was so shattered after the labours of the day i really only wanted to come home and vegetate alongside my favourite gal, Catieboo.

Here's the playlist from the past coupla days:

Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made
Various Artists - Move On Up: A Modernist Compendium
Saga - 20/20
Melissa Etheridge - Yes I Am
Roger McGuinn - Back From Rio
The Move - Message From The Country
Donal Lunny - Coolfin
Richard Thompson - Grizzly Man
Rod Stewart - Gasoline Alley
The Beatles - With The Beatles


Th-th-that's all, folks!


 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Toronto, October 2012, Part 2

Quotation Of The Day ~ Ian Rankin: One fateful night, I decided to go and see post-Peter Gabriel Genesis in Edinburgh, rather than Rory Gallagher. We learn through our mistakes..

Okay, so where was i?

Saw Oysterband  and it was brilliant but as all good things must, it came to an end and so i hit the subway train -- to Broadview station, closest to where i was staying the night with Julian & Andrea. Andrea was already asleep! But Julian and i had a glorious natter, oh, and i found the card he gave me, the play he's directing -- it is -- oh, shit, i've lost it again -- no, wait, here 'tis: it's "My Boy Jack" by David Haig, at The Papermill Theatre. Buy your tickets at www.eastsideplayers.ca (Julian, am i eligible for a commission if anyone buys their tickets through spriggsblog? Just curious....)

Wednesday morning, i wasn't feeling 100% -- at first i thought it may have been a hangover, but i've had hangovers before (i know, this is shocking news) and this was different. I was cold and achey -- and the fact that it was raining probably didn't help.  Julian and i chatted pleasantly for a while, Andrea sawing wood upstairs and, even though i suggested that it would be very rude for me to leave without seeing her, i wanted to get moving.  He told me not to concern myself, she's pretty anti-social in the mornings, and so i headed out.  And went to Broadview station, bought a day pass for the transit system, and travelled around for a while.

Down to King Street, across to Yonge Street, and then way, way north on the subway, so far north i found myself in an entirely different city: the city of North York. Yikes! I'd never been that far north in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) before. Adding to my coldiness and achey-ness now came a nosebleed from the northyness. It was pretty bleak, though, i can tell you. Oh, and it was pouring rain, too...A re-visit is not in the cards.

One of my plans for the day was to visit a Kelsey's pub.  As i may have mentioned (ad nauseam), my local pub in Splatford is Kelsey's, part of a chain (www.kelseys.ca)  but i'd never been to any other of their outlets, and purely out of intellectual curiosity i wanted to see what another one looked like.  Their website told me that the closest one was at 861 York Mills Road, so, transit pass clasped firmly in hand, i hied me to the York Mills subway station and was confronted with 8 or 9 different York Mills buses. Eeek! And remember now, my cold or flu or whatever is getting worser and worser....

So, i went to the first bus that arrived and said, do you go to 861 York Mills Road?  He said, sure, i think that's at Leslie Street, and so i hopped on.  Travelled though parts of Toronto i'd never seen before, enjoying the view immensely, and hopped off at Leslie Street.  And the rain continued and all i could see was mini-malls everywhere and no sign of a Kelsey's.... I explored at length but to no avail and, to make it worse, none of the buildings -- not one single one -- had a street number on it.  Believe me, i looked. (I did find a Swiss Chalet, but there was no way i was going in there!)

In the tradition of the great English explorers like Livingstone and Speke (it must be around here somewhere) i decided to walk a bit further east.   Over a bridge, past a scrapyard, feeling pretty miserable but at least the rain was lightening up and then ... i found it.  Kelsey's.  I shoulda told the bus driver that that was my destination, rather than just giving him the street number, but then i've never really had that good a grasp on the practical.  (If anyone's interested, it's at York Mills Road and Lesmill Road, not Leslie Street.)

The facade was identical to my local one but inside was very, very different.  Much larger, for one thing (my server -- who was very nice -- told me that it's one of the larger ones). With the added attraction of the aroma of fresh paint.  Yes, they were redecorating.

So, i had lunch. But i also had the collywobbles. The food was great but i found myself unable to finish the meal -- very unusual for me, i am, generally speaking, a vacuum cleaner when it comes to food. 

And that was it.  The rain had stopped, i finished my pint, headed back into the heart of the city via bus and subway, walked and walked and walked and had a couple of desultory pints in a couple of desultory pubs (only because i needed to have a whizz, my craving for alcohol was at a shockingly low level by this time), had some street meat (spicy Polish sausage with hot mustard and loadsa onions) from a street vendor outside Union Station, and then it was, home.  And i spent the rest of my week off feeling sick as an armadillo....

(Most people would say "sick as a dog"; i try to be different.)

Oh, and as i haven't written a playlist in a while and as i know how much you're all interested, here's what's been under the laser in the past few days:

Lisa Gerrard - Whale Rider
Marillion – Sounds That Can't Be Made
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
Rory Gallagher - Live In Europe
Billy Talent - Dead Silence
Richard Thompson - Live At Boardinghouse Park (bootleg, shhh)
Supergrass – Supergrass
Jethro Tull – Roots To Branches
Happy Rhodes – Many Worlds Are Born Tonight
The Albion Band - The Vice Of The People
Man - All's Well That Ends Well
The Tragically Hip - Now For Plan A
Barlow - Barlow
The Beach Boys - The Very Best Of The Beach Boys, Vol. 2
City Boy - Dinner At The Ritz



Monday, 5 November 2012

Toronto, October 2012, Part One

Quotation of the day ~ Jimi Hendrix (upon being asked what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist in the world): "I don't know, ask Rory Gallagher."

Okay, well, in my last post, as you, my regular reader, may recall, i suggested that i would write about the trip to Toronto i took at the beginning of October.  Not sure if it was a suggestion, a promise, or a threat, but, well, whatever.  I love Toronto.  I don't get there often enough.  I don't have enough time off, really, working five and a half days a week, c'est la vie.

Anyway! The primary purpose of my visit was to see Oysterband http://www.oysterband.co.uk/ at Hugh's Room http://hughsroom.com/  



It was the third time i'd seen them in four years, and they didn't disappoint.  Such a great band. 










Here's the venue:














Oh, and here's a pic of me with my companions at the show, Barbara & Eric, outside Hugh's Room:










 (i'm the somewhat sozzled-looking one with glasses askew and rapidly-greying hair on the right). (Spatulate fingers out of shot.)

Anyway.  The show was on Tuesday, i arrived via Via Rail an hour after the scheduled arrival time that morning, and headed straight to The Wolf & Firkin pub in Elm Street (stopping only at an ATM en route) to have lunch with Julian & Andrea, my friends with whom i'd be staying that night.  We always meet at The Wolf & Firkin, it's a great pub.  Unfortunately, there was something lacking this lunchtime: Andrea.  She's an actress and she was working or rehearsing or something, and sent her regrets. I was sorry to miss her, but Julian & i made the best of it, had a lovely lunch but then he had to go off to work -- he was busy directing a play and he gave me a card with the title of the play on it but i regret i can't find it just now. Sorry, Julian, i can't give you a plug!

So i just went off to explore the mean streets of Toronto.  I walked. North. I love walking in the first place (my doctor says it's why i'm in the good shape that i am in spite of years of over-indulgence in cigarettes and alcohol) and i especially love walking around in Toronto and it was a great day for it, sunny and mild, and my ultimate destination was my old neighbourhood of Yonge & Eglinton, a distance of three miles or so.

Basically i walked straight up Yonge Street, but there was one diversion: Bloor Street East and a visit to a pub called The Spotted Dick http://spotteddickpub.com/  

Here's the view from their smoking section (i.e., outside):



I've been there before, and i like the place, and this time, to my great delight, their satellite muzak (©) system was tuned in to a blues station! So i had a couple of pints there and listened to Muddy Waters, George Thorogood, Otis Rush et al and could have stayed there for the afternoon.  Maybe next time.





I continued my trek and by the time i reached St. Clair Avenue, i was desperate for a pee.  Fortunately, i found -- who'd have thought it possible? -- a pub.  (I forget its name.)  The pub was all right, the barmaid was cute, and the pee was a blessed relief and no mistake....

I could have relaxed there -- yes, become as relaxed as a newt -- but time was now becoming a factor.  It was only a couple of hours until i was to meet Barbara & Eric at Hugh's Room, so i forged ahead, continued the northward-walking scenario.  And when i passed Yonge & Davisville, i took this picture of my old apartment:

Yep, i lived upstairs from Pizza Pizza for quite a while.  I've written somewhere -- maybe not on this blog, but somewhere -- maybe an email to Vera Farmiga? -- that my lust for pizza (nature's most perfect food IMFFHO) derives from the fact that i would have the aroma wafting into my nostrils starting at ten a.m. every day.....











So, then, nevermind, further north to Yonge & Eglinton, and here's the approach:

Yes, there be potholes!

And i paid my customary visit to my old neighbourhood pub, The Duke Of Kent. Nice to be there, it was indeed, but i saw no one i knew.  Not that i really expected to but you never know....

Anyway, i had one pint there and then it was off to the subway, to Dundas West station and Eric and Barbara and Oysterband! 









More later.... 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Here We Go Again, Grrr...

Quotation of the day: Ken Olson (president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977) ~ There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.

Gosh, it's been a while. I've just had a week off and i was hoping to get this blog updated but it was not to be. The week has been chaotic
-- computer problems, two days in Toronto followed by a case of the flu (or something) from which i've only just recovered.

It actually all began a couple of months ago, when my laptop died on me. The little fluorescent lights or whatever they are (little gremlins carrying
torches maybe) that are attached to the back of the screen burnt out, whether due to a power surge or to the fact that Cate sleeps on it, who
knows. So i'd boot it up, it would appear to start normally but the screen would go dark after a minute or so. Useless.

But i felt no urgency about having it repaired. I really don't use the laptop that much. Basically, only when the desktop PC is on the fritz....

It's called "Sod's Law." Three weeks ago, the desktop failed.

Or, should i say, Windows failed. I would start up the computer, the Windows splash screen would appear, but then, Windows would stop loading and the machine would go into an endless cycle of restarts. At first, i thought maybe the BIOS chip had failed; i mucked around with the setup for a while, restoring defaults etc. (not really knowing what the hell i was doing) but nothing made any difference.

But -- and aye here's the rub -- it was not a hard-drive failure. I was able to boot the machine using my Linux installation disc. Using this method, i could look at Windows files, edit text, look at pictures (all that
Russian porn, woo hoo!) and so on. As i was between paycheques and had the Toronto trip and its concomitant expenses coming up, i had to
postpone the repair and as it was running (after a fashion) anyway, i was only badly inconvenienced (as opposed to desperately
inconvenienced).

Toronto was great, Toronto was super. I went to see Oysterband for the 3rd time in four years and i'll be writing about that later (if i remember to). I returned on Wednesday evening, on Thursday morning i felt as sick as a dog. (Cate loves that expression.) I had collywobbles to the max (and i love the term "collywobbles" as a synonym for "lower digestive tract disorders.") I dragged my sorry self and my laptop on down to the shop on Friday afternoon but, it was a long weekend here, nothing could be done until at least Tuesday. Grrr, i hate long weekends, they disrupt everything.

(I took the laptop in first, before the desktop, because at least the desktop was usable. Otherwise i would have been without a working computer entirely, and obviously that would have been an untenable situation!) (I might have actually had to clean my apartment or something equally silly.)

So, this past Saturday, i took the desktop in and retrieved the laptop (upon which i am now writing this). $140 for a new screen, which i thought was fairly reasonable.

Now, as you may know, i run Linux on my laptop.
It's an operating system that i've never really become comfortable with. To do a lot of things requires opening the terminal and running
commands -- like DOS in Windows -- but i can't remember most of the terminal commands most of the time, so in general i can't do much in
Linux.

That aside, Linux has "Update Manager" (equivalent to Windows Update) and on Saturday, in a fit of geeky madness, i ran update
manager. Oh, dear, it was a mistake.

It took two hours (!) to d/l the updates, during which time the laptop slowed to a crawl and was virtually useless, but fair's fair, i don't use the laptop often as i said, and i hadn't updated in a while. But then i clicked on "install updates."

The progress bar indicated "13 hours remaining," and once again the laptop slowed to a crawl and was virtually useless.

One of the very few things i ask out of life is a computer that works. It looks like it is not to be.

When i went to bed, the progress bar
indicated "one hour, seventeen minutes remaining." And that's where i left it when i crept into the arms of Morpheus. When i awoke, 6 / 7
hours later, the progress bar indicated ... one hour, seventeen minutes remaining. Yes indeedy, woo hoo, etc., everything was frozen.
Frozen solid, i couldn't do a damned thing.

So i had to re-install Linux. It only took most of the day.

On Sunday i was as sick as a parrot, and didn't do much. Watched a movie, "A Prayer For The Dying." It was all right. Some very good actors
(Mickey Rourke, Liam Neeson, Bob Hoskins) making the best of some fairly mediocre material.

Monday, i called Troy (at www.onsitetechnology.ca) and he had determined that Windows was corrupt and would have to be re-installed. He could back up all of my files, all that Asian porn and stuff (or was it Russian porn?) but all of my program files would be lost. Right. A nightmare task of re-downloading and re-configuring, but what choice had i?

So i picked up the computer on Thursday. Troy demonstrated that it was working well – he even downloaded my default browser for me. I got it home, fired it up and ... no Internet connection.

It worked superbly at the shop. I plugged my network cable in to my Linux laptop and the connection is fine. I booted my Windows PC with my Linux installation disc and ... the connection is fine. So, er, wtf?

And that's the problem that has been consuming me for about a week. I've been Googling like crazy, but all to no avail.

So that's where i am now. Troy is getting married this weekend so he's not going to be available for a bit, and my grey hair is rapidly turning white ....

Update: after a morning of really intense Googling, i found and ran this:

@Echo on
pushd\windows\system32\drivers\etc
attrib -h -s -r hosts
echo 127.0.0.1 localhost>HOSTS
attrib +r +h +s hosts
popd
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
ipconfig /flushdns
netsh winsock reset all
netsh int ip reset all
shutdown -r -t 1
del %0

It worked! I am back!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Working For A Living, Part the nth

Quotation of the day ~ Douglas Adams: I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

I had some visitors a couple of weeks ago, a couple of old friends from my days in Toronto: two sisters, Judith and Gloria.  We had a brilliant lunch at Bentley's (pub) and some brilliant conversation.

One of the things we nattered about was work.

Now, just to explain, both Judith & Gloria are a little older than i am, but not by much.  And most of my friends from when i lived in the big city, are around about my age (and i'm 403 years old according to Mike at Kelsey's [pub] but that's another story!).

We chatted about ourselves and how much we're all working, and it seems that all of my old chums -- who all want to slow down a bit ... are working harder than ever.  There seems to be no choice.

And we're working energetically and with gusto. I / we may not want to work as much as i / we do, but as long as i have to, i'm gonna put my back into it.

Now, here's a craven generalisation, but what i see in the younger folks, is that they don't want to work at all.  And by "younger," i mean, under 40.  Not fair, of course, there are go-getters out there.  But it's what i see where i work.  Very few of the under-40's actually want to do anything.  They all want more money, of course, but they don't actually want to work more hours to earn more money.  So i have to knock myself stupid every week, and they have no idea what it means to earn a living.

Sad, yes, and tragic for sure.

And here's the playlist:

Billy Talent -- Dead Silence
Various Artists -- Electricity
Saga - Saga
Van der Graaf Generator -- Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London, disc 1
The All-American Rejects -- The All-American Rejects
Billy Talent -- Dead Silence
Matchbox Twenty -- North
Various Artists -- Live On David Letterman, Vol. 2
The Allman Brothers Band -- A & R Studios, New York, 26/08/71
Chantal Kreviazuk -- In This Life
George Harrison -- Wonderwall Music
Van der Graaf Generator -- Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London
Saga -- Images At Twilight
Cream -- Live Cream, Vol. 2
Matchbox Twenty -- North
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Jeff Beck -- The Fire Meets The Fury


Friday, 14 September 2012

Billy Talent

 Quotation of the day: "Down on your knees, you don't look so tall"


A very brief one tonight, folks.

I just bought the brand new Billy Talent CD, "Dead Silence."



The first single from the album, "Viking Death March" -- a song that blows the top of my head off -- is here:



And based on one fairly serious listen, this could well be my new rock CD of the year....

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pubs, Friends, Loss Thereof

Quotation Of The Day: Sting ~ There's a hole in my life / Be a happy man / I try the best I can / Or maybe I'm just looking for too much. There's something missing from my life.

As my regular reader will know, my favourite pub in this god-forsaken town is Kelsey's.  I pop in there after work, oh, i don't know, maybe twice a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  But i really do look upon it as my home away from home.  I don't exactly have a rip-snortin' social life, pathetic computer addict that i am, generally more comfortable in cyberspace than in meatspace,  but i have friends who work at Kelsey's and i invariably enjoy seeing them, and that's why i go there. (LOL, i don't go there to drink, if i only wanted to drink i could do it at home and save heaps o'money....)

A couple of weeks ago, i wrote about how my friend Nicole had left the pub in order to go back to school -- good move for her, of course, but unhappy for me.

Two days ago, i learned that another friend, Josh, had quit, in a state of high dudgeon.  I know why, but i can't really say why. I mean, it's true but i, personally, have no proof and i can't go tossing allegations around; suffice to say that Josh was quite justified in leaving.  He is a man of principle.

And so ... i've lost another friend. Josh and i.... Well, we really didn't have a lot in common -- two totally different character types, but we always had enjoyable natters about this 'n' that.  And what really worries me now, is that Josh's girlfriend Jen (oh, look, here's a picture of them both, a handsome couple for sure) (pic used with permission)

-- who also works at Kelsey's but whom i've known since before she worked there -- is now pretty damned miserable, working there, and may soon be gone....  (I said to her today, don't do anything hasty.)

If she goes, my best friend there will be, er, Natalie.  Who's really nice and extraordinarily cute (in fact, as she's only about 20 years old makes me feel like a dirty old man but, as i've said, i'm a miserable failure as a dirty old man) (hey, my "girlfriend" of 22 years is older than i am!) but anyway, where was i?  I've known Natalie for maybe two months....



She's...

It's...
I'm...





Miserable.

Here's the playlist -- cos i know you're fascinated by all of this obscure shit i listen to ;o)

Various Artists -- The Blues White Album
Man -- Live At The Rainbow 1972
Peter Hammill -- Consequences
City Boy -- Live At My Father's Place
Freddie King -- Taking Care Of Business, disc 5
Rod Stewart -- Blondes Have More Fun
McGuinn, Clark & Hillman -- Long Island
Curved Air -- Airborne
Richard Thompson -- Cambridge Festival 1987
The Albion Band -- The Vice of The People
Bob Marley & The Wailers -- Catch A Fire
Bob Dylan -- Tempest
George Harrison -- Wonderwall Music
Van der Graaf Generator -- Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London
Saga -- 10,000 Days
Anne Briggs -- The Time Has Come
Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 2
Pink Floyd -- Wish You Were Here

Friday, 7 September 2012

Just A Playlist, Really....

Quotation of the day ~ John Ciardi: Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor. 

Nothing to write about today, boys and girls.  Not really.  Apart from the fact that i have to be at work at five o'clock tomorrow.  Not sure if that indicates unskilled labour or just plain stupidity.

Was it Benjamin Franklin who wrote that early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy (koff) wealthy (spare change?) and wise (duh!)?

Here's the playlist:

The Allman Brothers Band -- A & R Studios, New York, 26th August 1971
City Boy -- Go East Young Men
Roy Wood -- Song Book, disc 2
Richard Thompson -- More Guitar
George Harrison -- Wonderwall Music
Seether -- One Cold Night
Jeff Beck -- Truth
Status Quo -- Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Jon Raven, John Kirkpatrick & Sue Harris -- The English Canals
Calum & Rory MacDonald -- The Band From Rockall
Quintessence -- In Blissful Company
Amazing Blondel -- Evensong
Miller Anderson -- From Lizard Rock
Focus -- The Sky Will Fall Over London Tonight
Gentle Giant -- Free Hand
Sparks -- One and A Half Nelson

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Lindisfarne

Quotation of the day ~ George Carlin: Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

I wrote the other day about Lindisfarne, the fabulous holy isle off the coast of Northumbria (from which the great 1970's English folk group Lindisfarne took its name www.lindisfarne.co.uk).

And i started to think about the place.  As i wrote, i spent a small part of my childhood there.  My uncle and auntie ran a pub on the island, lived upstairs from it, and for a while my parents and i, a mere infant, shared the living space.  Had my little sister been born yet? I honestly don't remember.

Here's Lindisfarne on the map:  



 











Although i retain a (very) vague mental image of the pub itself,  i have no memory of the island, so i did the Google Image Search thing, and found some fabulous photographs of the place.  I'd love to go back there some day.


 And here's the group Lindisfarne performing "Meet Me On The Corner"



 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Not Bipolar At All

Quotation Of The Day ~ Mae West: Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

Hi, everyone:

This has been such a stupid week.  My moods have been up and down like some dork dangling at the end of a bungee cord. Not that i'm bipolar or anything.

I watched this film last night:

 












Woody Allen's films, sometimes i love them, sometimes they just leave me cold.  "Midnight In Paris" -- starring Owen Wilson as, basically, Woody Allen, and the 100% gorgeous Marion Cotillard, below, definitely falls into the "love it" camp. Absolutely magic.




I really have nothing else to write about, though.  So it's basically just a playlist this time: 

Saga -- Images At Twilight
The Albion Band -- The Prospect Before Us
Florence & The Machine -- Ceremonials, disc 2
George Harrison -- Brainwashed
David Gilmour -- On An Island
Peter Hammill -- Consequences
This Mortal Coil -- Filigree And Shadow
Talk Talk -- Spirit Of Eden
Howard Jones -- B Sides
city Boy -- Go East Young Man
John Miles -- Stranger In The City
Martin Carthy -- Sweet Wivelsfield   
Fairport Convention -- Gladys' Leap
The Kinks -- Arthur, Or, The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire
Steve Hackett -- Spectral Mornings
Sparks -- Kimono My House
Jethro Tull -- Benefit
Procol Harum -- Shine On Brightly
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Bluesbreaker
The Mahavishnu Orchestra -- The Inner Mounting Flame
Chantal Kreviazuk -- In This Life

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Problem With Pubs

Quotation of the day ~ Samuel Johnson: There is nothing which has been yet contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.

I don't have an alcohol problem -- i drink, i fall asleep, no problem tra la.

But i will confess to being a pub-a-holic.  I love pubs.  I think this goes back to my youth in England.  As an infant, i lived above one. My auntie and uncle ran a pub on Lindisfarne -- the fabulous holy isle -- and for a while my parents shared the living space.  So from a very early age i was accustomed to the aroma of hopped beverages wafting into my nose.

(The same thing happened to me with pizza: when i lived in Toronto i lived, for a while, upstairs from a pizzeria, and at around ten o'clock every morning, the aroma of pepperoni pizzas would soar upwards; it may explain why i now consider pizza to be nature's most perfect food.)

Pubs are not to be confused with bars and hotels -- nasty, dark places and often pretty dirty.  Pubs are bright and friendly and -- if i may quote the theme song from "Cheers," "sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."  That's what i mean by a pub.

Here's a pic of the very first place i ever considered to be "my" local pub:



The Duke Of Kent at Yonge & Eglinton, in Toronto.  I lived behind it, a minute's walk away, my neighbours went there and most of my few remaining friendships were forged there.  It changed my life in many ways (for there, f'rinstance, it was that i met my ex-wife and if that wasn't life - changing...).






 I now live in Stratford, and there are only two pubs here that i go to: my favourite is Kelsey's, which is close to where i live.  I go there, oh, i dunno, maybe on average, twice a week.  I've been going there since it opened, 12 (?) years ago.  And check my flickr page for views from their smoking area (i.e., outside): http://www.flickr.com/photos/34806425@N02/sets/72157619393471020/ The other one is Bentley's, which is close to where i used to live.  I've been going there since it opened, 23 (?) years ago -- but now that i live way a long way away from it, maybe only twice a month.

Anyway, on to the point of this post.

If you go into anywhere regularly, you become friendly with some of the people who work there.  Friend each other on Facebook and exchange email addresses, etc.  But -- people in the "hospitality" industry being notoriously nomadic -- all of a sudden they leave and you never see them again.  Someone you like just simply disappears from your life.  It ... leaves a hole.  (And i have so many holes now you might mistake me   for a Swiss cheese....)

What has brought this post on, is, that i have made many friends at Kelsey's over the years and one of my all-time favourites, Nicole, left, to go back to school.  Yesterday was her last day. I envy her, one of the greatest regrets of my life is that i didn't finish university. Maybe, just maybe, if i had finished, i wouldn't be stuck in such a crap job now, but nevermind that.

Here's Nicole (i'm using this picture with her permission).

Cute, eh?  But also -- and more importantly to me -- someone so full of positive vibes it was a pleasure to be in the same room. If i'd ever had a daughter, i would have liked her to be like Nicole.... I shall miss her, but that's what happens when you go to pubs, and that's why drinking is dangerous.

You lose friends....










And it's another playlist, boys 'n' girls:

Freddie King -- The Very Best Of
Glenn Frey -- No Fun Aloud
Glenn Frey -- The Allnighter
Joan Osborne -- Bring It On Home
The Albion Band -- The Vice Of The People
John Renbourn -- The Guitar Of John Renbourn
Marianne Faithful -- Love In A Mist
OutKast -- Stankonia

Thursday, 23 August 2012

In This Life

Quotation of the day: Chantal Kreviazuk ~ You're in the basement, watching the TV / I'm on the second floor, watching the ceiling (from "In This Life")

Just bought Chantal Kreviazuk's new CD, "In This Life," the other day.  There's the album cover:




Chantal is, in case you don't know, a Canadian singer / songwriter and a classicaly-trained pianist, married to Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and i've been following her career since her debut album in 1996.  I think she's terrific.  The name is pronounced "krevvy-A-zuhk."  This new album is a semi-unplugged, in concert recording, performed with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, a "greatest hits and more" type of package.  And it includes a free DVD (which i haven't watched yet).

And i started to think, as George Harrison once famously sang, "what is life?" Erm, he probably wasn't the first to ask the question.  In fact it probably goes 'way back, beyond the ancient Greek sages like Solon, who said "No one can be said to be happy until he is dead." Further back than that, even.

Well, i'm starting to think that life is a mistake.  One of god's silly little experiments that went awry, like the Boson particle.  Or the Ford Pinto.

I'm certainly starting to believe that my life was a mistake.  It is, in general, so unbearable that i think i must be doing penance for the sins of a previous life.  This is mostly workplace-related, where i'm surrounded by energy vampires, people so negative that they suck the the juice right out of me.  And of course this spills over into the other aspects of my being.

I've suffered from insomnia all of my life -- brain won't shut down when head hits the pillow -- but now, i can't sleep at all unless i'm half blootered.  But then, work haunts my dreams.  And there's no escape. And i'm too old to find anything different -- i don't know how to do anything else any more anyway.

I've tried. 

Back in January, i enrolled in a part-time, online college course in programming.  Not really expecting it to lead to a career change at my age (i'm old) but stranger things have happened.

I'm supposed to work five and a half days a week, i figured i could work on my studies on my afternoons off.  Ha, wrong again: they stopped giving me afternoons off. I complained -- and they gave me one afternoon, and then stopped.  I got further and further behind on the studies.  I had a week off in April and tried to catch up but it was no good, i was too far behind, and i gave up.

So that's why i spend so much time in cyberspace, then: because real life, or "meatspace," is so fuckn dreadful. And i don't like working six days a week!  I mean, it's nice to be wanted, but then to have to put up with all of the crap up with which i must put....

Oh, well, at least i still have music. Here's the playlist:

Roxy Music -- World Tour Live, disc 1
Talk Talk -- Spirit Of Eden
Fairport Convention -- The Alternative Heyday
Maddy Prior & Guests -- Live At Cecil Sharp House, 2008
Barry Lyndon (soundtrack)
Focus -- Hamburger Concerto Tour (bootleg)
The Move -- Looking In
Keane -- Strangeland
Various Artists -- The Roots Of The Rolling Stones
Ten Years After -- Recorded Live
Jane Siberry -- City
Chantal Kreviazuk -- In This Life
Seether -- One Cold Night
Billie Holiday -- Lady In Satin
John Fogerty -- Deja Vu All Over Again
Rory Gallagher -- Against The Grain
City Boy -- Go East Young Men
Alvin Lee -- I Hear You Rockin'
Marc Bonilla -- EE Ticket
Richard Thompson -- Henry The Human Fly
Jethro Tull -- A Passion Play

Monday, 13 August 2012

Working For A Living

Quotation Of The Day ~ Martha Raye: I didn't have to work till I was three. But after that, I never stopped.


Right, well, i'm in the middle of working ten days straight.  On a scale of one to ten, where ten is happy and one is unhappy, i'm at about minus five at the moment.  Not a happy camper....


Here's the playlist:


The Move -- Movements, disc 1
Van Morrison -- His Band And The Street Choir
Rory Gallagher -- A Blue Day For The Blues
Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 1
Def Leppard -- Adrenalize
Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- Black Moon
David Bowie -- Hunky Dory
Rory Gallagher -- Jinx
The Albion Band -- The Vice Of The People (twice)
Jon Anderson -- Change We Must
Lucinda Williams -- Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Taste -- The Best Of Taste
Colosseum -- Those Who Are About To Die Salute You
Colosseum -- Valentyne Suite
Genesis -- Nursery Cryme (twice)
Shania Twain -- Up! disc 1
Roy Wood -- Singles
Colosseum -- Live
Steeleye Span -- Horkstow Grange
The Beatles -- Let It Be... Naked
Peter Hammill --Consequences
Bjork -- Debut
Jeff Beck -- Who Else!
The Yardbirds -- BBC Sessions
Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 2
Matchbox Twenty -- Exile On Mainstream
Mike Oldfield -- Tubular Bells III
The Rolling Stones  -- Metamorphosis


And here's the best album i've bought all year (so far):


A "greatest hits" collection and full of magic.



Sunday, 5 August 2012

Playlist

Just a playlist.  I don't even have a quotation du jour. I've been so damned busy...

James Taylor -- October Road
Talk Talk -- Spirit Of Eden
Jon Anderson -- Olias Of Sunhillow
Birth Control -- Backdoor Possibilities
Marina & The Diamonds -- Pop Your Bubblegum Heart
Home -- BBC Sessions
The All-American Rejects -- The All-American Rejects
Colin James -- Fifteen
City Boy -- Book Early
Ten Years After -- Recorded Live
AC/DC -- High Voltage
Martin Carthy -- The Kershaw Sessions
Joe Bonamassa -- Black Rock
Rory Gallagher -- Defender
King Crimson -- Islands
Rush -- Vapor Trails
Peter Hammill -- Sitting Targets
The Move -- Movements, disc 1
Van Morrison -- His Band And The Street Choir
Rory Gallagher -- A Blue Day For The Blues
Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 1

Here's a new pic of the love of my life, though:

The most beautiful woman i have ever seen in my life, Andreea Raducan.  (Oh and, by the way, there is no truth to the rumour that we're moving to Tahiti together.  That was Perez Hilton started that.)


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Joan Osborne

Quotation of the day ~ Lester Bangs: The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious.

We were talking on the radio a few weeks ago about our favourite female singers. There i go with the radio again.  Anyway, i have quite a few, but my immediate answer was Kate Bush.  In retrospect, however, i started to think that maybe, just maybe, it is in fact Joan Osborne.



This video is for "Cathedrals," a song from Joan's 2008 album "Little Wild One."  (I didn't know until today that a video existed for this.)  The song's chorus was the "quotation of the day" on a post a little while ago, it's a highlight of the CD and for reasons unknown it makes me cry. ("It's because you're a wuss" says Cate. Bitch.)

I don't know if the tears well up because of the sentiment, the attempt to find "home" when home no longer exists or never did; or just because her voice is just so damn' beautiful and powerful and emotive.

There are lots of female voices that wreck me: Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Judy Collins, Maddy Prior, Dusty Springfield, Kathy Mattea, Agnetha & Frida from ABBA, Sandy Denny Dagmar Krause, Ofra Haza, the list goes on ....  But Joan's music breaks my spine. 


















Here's the playlist since, er, the last playlist:

Billy Talent -- III
Van Halen -- 5150
Dagmar Krause & Marie Goyette -- A Scientific Dream And A French Kiss
Peter Hammill -- Fool's Mate
Tim Renwick -- Privateer
Sky -- Five Live
Kathy Mattea -- Coal



 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Radio Radio

Comic strip of the day © Stephan Pastis:



 
G' Day, all ~

At the risk of boring you all even further on this subject, my radio station situation has settled down after several upsetting weeks.   The changes that took place at 94.9 The Rock recently had me really upset, which is probably pretty foolish  ("probably?" says Cate) (who only ever listens to CatsongRadio.com anyway).

But i've pretty much found a new routine and i'm a slave to my routines.  So here 'tis:

I'm still listening to 94.9 The Rock, but only to the morning programme, weekdays

 If i'm listening at bedtime, in need of something very light that will ease my chronic insomnia, i'll stream 97.7 The Beach, from Wasaga Beach.  Honestly, there are a million easy listening stations around the world that would do the same job; i have opted for The Beach because Rod West -- who was ousted from The Rock when their changes began -- works there now.

At any other time, it's Hauraki for me. http://www.hauraki.co.nz/  A fabulous selection of music, rock both classic and new.  As they broadcast from Auckland New Zealand  (pictured right) they're not much good for local news 'n' weather, but other sources for that sort of quotidian info are legion.

 Oh, and as i know your interest is boundless, here's the Playlist:

Soft Machine -- Third
Yes -- The Yes Album
Ofra Haza -- Miscellaneous Songs
Sparks -- Kimono My House
Peter Hammill -- Consequences
Jane Siberry -- Maria
Mike Rutherford -- Smallcreep's Day
Wishbone Ash -- Winterland 1976
The Band -- Music From Big Pink
Kim Mitchell -- Greatest Hits
Steve Howe -- The Steve Howe Album
Humble Pie -- Performance: Rockin' The Fillmore
Freddie King -- Live at Fillmore West
Jethro Tull -- A Passion Play
John Miles -- Stranger In The City
Seether -- One Cold Night
City Boy -- Book Early
Martin Carthy -- Sweet Wivelsfield
Florence & The Machine -- Ceremonials 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

It Just Gets Worse (Radio Again)

Quotation of the day ~ Bob Dylan: The radio makes hideous sounds.

I'm lamenting the demise of 94.9 The Rock, once upon a time my favourite radio station.  I used to love the Craig & Rita program in the mornings, but when i connected to the audio stream on Monday..... No Rita.  All references to her had been expunged from the website, too.  And on Tuesday, Craig had a new "partner," someone called Wendy Boomer.  Possibly not her real name.  I haven't figured her out yet. 

Really, this is very sad.  I like Craig, i'll continue to listen when he's on (although for some reason i couldn't connect to the audio stream this morning and wound up listening to Q107).

My favourite station is now www.hauraki.co.nz  So be it. Life is all about change.  Adapt or die.

And the playlist?

Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 2
Sky -- 4 Forthcoming
Keane -- Strangeland
City Boy -- The Day The Earth Caught Fire
Roy Wood -- Music Book, disc 1
Rory Gallagher -- Top Priority
Mike Oldfield -- Songs Of Distant Earth
Collective Soul -- Afterwords
City Boy -- Book Early
Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous & Jack DeJohnette -- To Be Continued
Colin James -- Fifteen
Keane -- Strangeland
The Who -- Odds 'n' Sods
Lais -- Dorothea
Jon Lord -- Before I Forget
Jethro Tull -- Songs From The Wooden Gramophone (bootleg)
Joe Bonamassa -- Driving Towards The Daylight

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Radio Again

Quotation Of The Day ~ Peter Hammill: The crucial question one comes back to is the examination; without that experience is meaningless. And I think it's true that society is becoming more and more passive, less and less fired up with enthusiasm, in many spheres.

I've been thinking a lot about radio stations lately. As i wrote yesterday, my former favourite radio station (94.9 The Rock) has deteriorated recently -- to the point where i haven't listened to it all week.

Now, although i am (IMFFHO) unique (along with everyone else) you may know this feeling.  You have a fave station and you listen every morning.  The djs become almost like friends, you get to know them, what they do in their spare time, what they like, their quirks and idiosyncracies....

In the case of The Rock, two of the djs -- Rockin' Rod & Craig Robertson -- and i, are now friends on Facebook. Doesn't mean we're real friends, of course, but it's an attachment. And there's affection. And contact.

So, when the radio station changes dramatically for the worse, as The Rock has done (for reasons unknown), one feels a little bit lost.

The first indication that there might be trouble ahead was when Rod was let go, a few weeks ago.

Craig is on holiday this week.  When he returns, i will listen to The Rock again.  Just to listen to him, he's a nice guy.  And a Facebook friend.

But until then, i'm lost in space.

Oh, oops, almost forgot the playlist:

The Allman Brothers Band - A & R Studios, New York 26th August 1971
Blind Lemon Jefferson -- The Best Of....
Christine Collister -- Songbird
Roy Wood -- Music Book


 

 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

What On Earth Has Happened To 94.9 The Rock?!?

Quotation Of The Day: Jay Clifford ~ In the cathedrals of New York and Rome / There is a feeling that you should just go home / And spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

I'm still trying to find out.  It's baffling me, maybe it doesn't exist? Dunno.  Not happy these days, though, feeling nostalgia for something that maybe never existed. That lyric, btw, is from a song Joan Osborne recorded on her album "Little Wild One."  Great album, great singer.


















Anyway, to the point of this post.

About three years ago (and i wrote about it at the time: http://spriggsblog.blogspot.ca/2009/01/radio-part-ii.html) i discovered a fabtastic radio station, broadcasting from Oshawa, Ontario, 94.9 The Rock, and listened online every day.  They were great!  The first time i connected via the Internet they were playing something by Cheech & Chong and i thought, whew, wow, gimme more, i love this!  They had a vast playlist, they played classic rock i hadn't heard in yonks plus loads of brilliant new rock.  (They were, for example, the first place i ever heard The Arkells and Billy Talent.)

But, hey, life is all about change and a wee while ago 94.9 changed drastically.  They fired one of my favourite djs, Rockin' Rod (now Rod West at http://www.977thebeach.ca/ -- music for dentists' offices, bleccch) and drastically reduced their playlist.  (And another of my fave djs, Vanessa Murphy, seems to be on permanent maternity leave....) One of their plugs used to be "I haven't heard that song since...." Meaning that that they played stuff i hadn't heard in years.  Nowadays it should be " i haven't heard that song since a couple of hours ago."

I intend to keep listening.  I like Craig &  Rita (hosts of the morning show).  But Craig is on holidays this week and i haven't listened at all.  Instead, i've been listening to:

http://www.edge.ca/ -- modern rock, it's okay but i don't like the morning guy.  I won't listen often. Plus it's corporate

http://www.kociradio.com/home-page.html -- it's from somewhere on Southern California -- Orange County. Usually great, and they play a lot of blues, but occasionally really wimpy.

http://www.q107.com/ -- all classic rock.   I like the morning show and i've been listening daily, but i don't really want corporate media.

I've been listening here more than anywhere else: http://www.hauraki.co.nz/  Excellent music, although, as they're from Auckland, not much good for local news and weather.

And since the radio is crapola, i have a huge playlist:


Marc Bonilla -- EE Ticket
Caravan -- In The Land Of Grey And Pink
Joe Walsh -- Analog Man
Colin James -- Fifteen
Various Artists -- The Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll, disc 3
The Rolling Stones -- Forty Licks, disc 1
Gentle Giant -- Free Hand
Radiohead -- Kid A
Donnie Munro -- From The West Side
Lais -- Dorothea
The Grateful Dead -- Aoxomoxoa
John Mayer Trio -- Try!
Calum & Rory MacDonald -- The Band From Rockall
chantal Kreviazuk -- What If It All Means Something
Richard Thompson -- Henry The Humnan Fly
Joni Mitchell -- Hejira
Kim Mitchell -- Rockland
Peter Hammill -- And Close As This
Thin Lizzy -- Renegade
Keane -- Strangeland
Joe Bonamassa -- Driving Towards The Daylight
Ashley Hutchings -- The Compleat Dancing Master
Calum & Rory MacDonald -- The Band From Rockall
Asia -- XXX
Peter Hammill -- Consequences
Ian Anderson -- Thick As A Brick 2
The Move -- Movements, disc 1
Marillion -- This Strange Engine
City Boy -- The Day The Earth Caught Fire
Various Artists -- "Yellow Submarine" Resurfaces
Sky - 4 Forthcoming
Muzsikás & Márta Sebestyén - Morning Star
Joan Osborne -- Little Wild One
Jane Siberry -- Meschach Dreams Back
Joan Osborne -- Breakfast In Bed
Genesis -- ABACAB
Keane -- Strangeland
Brian Plummer -- No Questions
Richard Thompson -- 1000 Years Of Popular Music
Runrig -- Transmitting

 




Saturday, 30 June 2012

Andreea Raducan

Why ask why?  I am quite obsessed with this woman.












I honestly think that Andreea is the most beautiful woman i have ever seen in my life (sigh....).

Rockall

Quotation of the day:  Anon ~ Scottish by birth, British by law, Highlander by the grace of God

From Wikipedia: Rockall (Irish: Rocal, Scottish Gaelic: Rocabarraigh) is an extremely small, uninhabited, remote rocky islet in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Here's a picture of it:















Looks pretty bleak, eh?

The reason it comes up, though, a bit convoluted, ackshully, bear with me, is this:



















That's a CD cover, an album by Calum & Rory MacDonald, and it's one of the best of the year so far, (IMFFHO).

There's a Scottish folk-rock group called Runrig.  One of my all-time favourite groups, as a matter of fact.  Loads of stuff up on YouTube (if you're interested). Calum & Rory are members, but as there hasn't been a new Runrig album since 2007's "Everything You See" -- at least, i don't think there has --  this is a pretty good stopgap.  In fact, it sounds like Runrig without its lead singer.

Its original lead singer was the brilliant Donnie Munro (now a member of the SNP, i do believe).  But Runrig is one of the very few bands who survived and throve after the departure of the singer.  (AC/DC, Marillion, and Pink Floyd did, too  -- there are a few others although i can't think of them off the top of my head.)  Runrig's current singer is the brilliant Bruce Guthro -- from Nova Scotia of all places -- and the band literally wouldn't have survived without Bruce.

You can buy "The Band From Rockall" here: http://www.musicscotland.com/cd/index.html

Highly recommended!