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, 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 (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 (  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 at Hugh's Room  

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  

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....