Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Year-End Wrap-Up 2 -- Film

Quotation Of The Day: Mark Twain ~ New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.

Here, in case you're interested, is the list of every film i watched in 2013. (Yes, i keep track of schtuff like this, i'm a list-freak, what can i tell you...) They're not, i hasten to add, all current releases. Many of them are older than you are, and most of them i was watching for at least the second time. Ready?

The Girl Who Played With Fire (three times)
Analyze This
Mighty Aphrodite
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (three times)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011 version) (twice)
The Eagle Has Landed
Django Unchained (twice)
Source Code (twice)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009 version)
The Bourne Legacy (twice)
Sherlock Holmes And The Scarlet Claw
Zero Dark Thirty (twice)
Skyfall (twice)
25th Hour
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
The Adjustment Bureau
Daisy Diamond
In The Cut
Magical Mystery Tour
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (twice)
The New Adventures Of Pippi Longstocking
From Dusk Till Dawn
Living In The Material World
Run, Lola, Run
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
A Good Day To Die Hard (twice)
Body Of Lies
Dressed To Kill

Standing In The Shadows Of Motown
Green Zone
Dead Man Down (twice)
Casualties Of War
The Road
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (bit of an Indiana Jones binge there)
From Hell
A Clockwork Orange
The Bourne Supremacy
Live Free Or Die Hard
A Serious Man
I Am
Gorky Park
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Love Actually
The Sweeney
As Good As It Gets
Broken Arrow .

And what were my favourites of the newer releases (i hear you ask)? Loved The Bourne Legacy, loved Django Unchained, but i think that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets the nod from me this year. And of the older ones? Wall-E -- i love this film to pieces.

But i also have to mumble a few syllables about "A Good Day To Die Hard," which has made almost everyone's top five worst films of 2013.

I liked it! I like the franchise and i bought the DVD and, on first viewing i didn't see much in it beyond the excitement of bloodshed and vehicular carnage -- which is what you want from a Bruce Willis film, after all. The second time, i started to begin to detect the appearance of a plot. (No, really....) I'm actually kinda sorta looking forward to seeing it again -- maybe the plot i detected will start to make sense. And maybe it won't. Who cares when there's that much broken glass flying around?

Otherwise, just my latest playlist:

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Amy Grant - A Christmas Album
John Kirkpatrick, Rosie Cross et al - Wassail!
The Albion Band - A Christmas Present From The Albion Band
The Albion Band - Another Christmas Present From The Albion Band
Joan Osborne - Righteous Love
Sky - Mozart
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Jeff Berlin - Crossroads
Iceberg - Sentiments

Happy Hogmanay, one and all!

Monday, 23 December 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like ... OUCH!

Quotation of the day ~ Bill Watterson: Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?

Now before i go any further, i would like to state that i love Christmas. December 24th and December 25th are my two favourite days of the year. I hate hearing Christmas music in October, though, and in fact i hate most "popular" Christmas music -- hell, i wouldn't listen to Perry Como or Alvin & The Chipmunks at any other time of the year, why do malls / radio stations / piped-in muzak systems in pubs imagine that i'd be interested in listening to them now? (In fact, several years ago, a radio station to which i had been a devoted listener, started playing Alvin & The Chipmunks with distressing frequency in October and i damn near threw the radio out the window.) (And i set off on a quest for a new radio station to listen to, but that's a story told elsewhere on this blog.) (Search "radio" if you care.)

Anyway, where was i? Right, yes. Two weeks ago, i was at work, gearing up for what are generally our two busiest weeks of the year, all of those grumpy Christmas shoppers working up an appetite buying gifts no one wants with money they don't have. I was humping around a crate of chicken, maybe 18 / 20 kilos -- something i do all day long -- when owowowowOOOOOOW!!!! A pain soared through my back and all of a sudden i couldn't really stand up all that well. The boss drove me home, as obviously i couldn't really contribute much beyond the occasioanl pathetic moan to the rest of my shift.

That was Monday. Tuesday is my regular day off anyway, and, hard as this may be to believe, i did even less than usual that day. The boss told me to also take Wednesday off (with pay) which was nice, and return on thursday. On Wednesday i was feeling okay, so, cool, all on the road to recovery, yay. On Thursday morning, i awoke to a feeling like red-hot knives slicing through my back, i could barely stand up, and at 6 a.m. i went to the hospital (which i maybe should have done in the first place). The doctor diagnosed muscle spasms, gave me some Advil, told me to stay off work until Saturday and sent me home.

So, i went back to work, assigned "light duties," in other words tedious crap that no one else wants to do <sigh>.

Okay, okay, long story short. It was a terribly boring week for me although the restaurant was crazybusy, and i have been back at normal duty since Saturday and having no further problems.

But, the thing is, Christmas has been even more disorganised than usual for me this year. I wasn't straying too far from home, didn't go into the pub (or even have a drink) for well over a week, couldn't get to the post office (so if you receive your Christmas card late this year, that's the reason).

Hasten to add: i'm 100% fine now, no probs at all, and great effort has meant that i'm almost all set for Christmas. Just have to get the beer in, and i can do that tomorrow morning.

Here's the latest from the CD collection (including one recent acquisition, out of sequence):

And the playlist?

Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
The Albion Christmas Band - Winter Songs
Yes - Talk
Waterson : Carthy - Holy Heathens And The Old Green Man
The Albion Band - Rise Up Like The Sun
Siouxsie & The Banshees - A KIss In The Dreamhouse
Steeley Span - Bedlam Born
Van der Graaf Generator - Trisector
John Kirkpatrick - Every Mortal Place
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Lost Christmas Eve
Vatious Artists - Morris On The Road
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Christmas Attic
Keith Emerson - The Christmas Album
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night
The Albion Christmas Band - Snow On Snow
Donnie Munro - Donnie Munro
Joan Osborne - Christmas Means Love
Various Artists - All Through The Year
The Beatles - Beatles For Sale
Runrig - Live At Celtic Connections 2000
Marillion - Merry Xmas To Our Flock
Ronny Heimdal - Timequake
James Taylor - Covers
Home - BBC Sessions
The Kinks - The Road
Jon Anderson - 3 Ships


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Year-End Wrap Up Part 1 -- Music

Quotation of the day ~ Unknown: I wanted to send you something amazing for Christmas, but the mailman told me to get out of the mailbox... 

Right, well, it may be a little early, but as there's nothing new in music on the horizon, i've decided to begin my year-end wrap up with albums, beginning with a list of every CD i bought this year, because i know how interested you are, so in no particular order:

Black Country Communion – Afterglow           
Rival Sons – Head Down               
Rival Sons – Pressure And Time           
O.S.T. - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo           
Paul Simon – Live In New York City           
Big Wreck –In Loving Memory Of...           
Colin James – Twenty Five Live                       
Paula Cole – Raven                       
Big Wreck – The Pleasure And The Greed                       
Mick Abrahams – Cat Squirrel Blues           
Sheryl Crow – Feels Like Home           
Fish – Feast Of Consequences           
The Lovin' Spoonful –Greatest Hits                       
Sammy Hagar – Sammy Hagar & Friends           
Rory Gallagher – Kickback City           
Rod Stewart – Rarities           
The Beatles – On Air -- Live At The BBC Volume  2
Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick – Walnut Creek           
Richard Thompson – Cabaret Of Souls           
Kate Rusby – 20           
Richard Thompson -- Electric           
John Kirkpatrick – Every Mortal Place           
Maddy Prior with Hannah James & Giles Lewin – 3 For Joy           
June Tabor / Iain Ballamy / Huw Warren – Quercus           
Bert Jansch – Avocet

The Albion Band -- Rise Up Like The Sun

Yes, twenty seven albums, long gone are the days when i would buy 100 CDs a year. Internet downloads are partly responsible for this (legal or illegal -- i'm not telling). There's also the fact that so many of the artists i love are either dead or inactive now, most current "pop" music holds no interest for me, and there's also the minor fact that i already have a vast collection and so little music-listening time, and so i'm maybe a bit more careful about what i buy.

That said, here are this year's best ofs. Note: many of these were released prior to 2013, but i include them because i only bought them this year, so there!

Song of the year: "The Immigrant Song" by Trent Reznor (vocal by Karen O.) (from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" soundtrack).    Fabulous techno-grunge version of the Led Zeppelin song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bD4ts8eWY

Album of the year: "A Feast Of Consequences" by Fish. The former Marillion lead singer's solo albums have been either great or, shall i say, less than interesting, but this is without a doubt  the finest album of his solo career.

Runners-up: "Head Down" by Rival Sons -- a new rock band that actually rocks, rather than pounds. 

And "Sammy Hagar & Friends" by Sammy -- well, apart from my dear sister, who doesn't love Sammy?

Re-issue of the year: "Kickback City" by Rory Gallagher. As i have said ad nauseam, Rory was my fave guitarist ever. He was a fan of hard-boiled detective novels and this set is a collection of his songs that were inspired by Dashiel Hammett, etc. It's actually a 3-CD set -- disc one is all previously released schtuff, disc two is live performances that were only previously available on the "Live From Cork" DVD (which -- here's a surprise! -- i happen to have). Disc 3 is actor Aidan Quinn (big Rory fan) reading a specially-written novella by Ian Rankin (one of my fave writers and also a big Rory fan) called "The Lie Factory." All re-issues should be this sumptuous.

Runner-up: "Rarities" by Rod Stewart. No, really. Younger readers may find it difficult to believe but before he became an utterly irrelevant and boring old fart, Rod was a true rocker and a folk/blues dynamo -- and "Rarities" collects rare and unreleased schtuff from 1969-1974. His heyday and i love it. 

And that's the state of music chez nous, 2013, except to add my most recent playlist:

The Kinks - Soap Opera
Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Robin Trower - Roots And Branches
Sammy Hagar - Sammy Hagar & Friends
The Beatles - 1
Vinegar Joe - Live At Golder's Green
George Harrison - 33 and 1/3
The Beatles - On Air
Dagmar Krause - Angebot & Nachfrage
Jethro Tull - Repeat
Yes - Close To The Edge
Sparks - Kimono My House
Steve Hackett - Watcher Of The Skies
Ashley Hutchings - The Compleat Dancing Master
J.S. Bach - Violin Concertos BWV 1041-1042-1043-1064

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Spam-A-Rama Again

Quotation of the day ~ Ian Rankin: We've all got different ways of dealing with the shit we deal with.

I wrote some time ago about how i knew that this blog was a success, because i was receiving so much spam in the comments section. So much so that i enabled comment moderation and deleted it all so that none of it had to bother you, dear reader.

But i received this today and couldn't resist sharing:
  url=http://www.audetectiondog.com/purple-ugg-boots]purple ugg boots[/url] Levadex, however, is effective at treating migraine regardless of whether allodynia is present.The end result will be a thorough biography tentatively titled "Henry Kissinger and the American Century" examining one of the most influential and polarizing figures of the modern era, serving as national security advisor and secretary of state from 19691977.Guy must be patient.9 percent vacancy rate for retail space across the country. [url=http://www.audetectiondog.com/chocolate-ugg-boots]chocolate ugg boots[/url]
[url=http://www.audetectiondog.com/black-ugg-boots]black ugg boots[/url] As one expat told the site: "I can get up in the morning, take a yoga class, get a manicure and pedicure, have a massage, meet my friends for happy hour, and do it all for less than $30!We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper.economic reports due this week: Monday's release of the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing survey report and Friday's jobs numbers."We're very satisfied with it. [url=http://www.audetectiondog.com/blue-ugg-boots]blue ugg boots[/url]
[url=http://www.sharenewboot.com/ugg-canadian-retailers/]ugg canadian retailers[/url] So convincing are these floating resorts that, on a calm sea day, you must open the curtains and peek outside to remind yourself that you are hurtling at great speeds in the open ocean, with land a very long way off.The recent cookbook is loaded with instructions for sweet and savory marshmallow treats.It be gins to look as if the McLean men some timo Ir the on the or at JeasT are almost are having a roll the Pomerene was j rubbing their hands to appeal to the but no sooner and shaking Hanley adopt the appeal than whether he is for the appeal or tise except that he to he of the December chill preparatory getting into off to The general aspect of the ial seems to be at least it is so Some of the strong supporters of Pomerene have THE A.You anticipate being able to reconnect as a family, and be a parent with a strong connection to your child. [url=http://www.audetectiondog.com/red-ugg-boots]classic uggs tall boots red[/url] Madison Police Break Up Fight In New Town Pub Parking Lot A Madison Police officer broke up a disturbance that appeared to be drug related early Friday morning at the New Town Pub on South Gammon Road. [url=http://caboots.pediatrictables.com]caboots.pediatrictables.com[/url]

I mean, what the hell was that about? I mean, apart from a vague Ugg boots thread, i have no idea where it was going or what it wanted. It's just nonsense. And these people want your credit card information?

Anyway, here are the next five in the CD collection:

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Just A Playlist

Quotation Of The Day ~ Ray Davies: Songs are like friends who comfort you so don't feel alone.

Just a playlist tonight folks, i've just been too busy. Well, it's just going to get worse between now and Christmas.

Oh, well, the CD collection, too:

  Oh, and the playlist:

Keane - Night Train
Saga - 20/20
The Animals - The Best Of The Animals
Ray Davies - Other People's Lives
Creedence clearwater Revival - Green River
Rod Stewart - A Night On The Town
Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
The Kinks - Sleepwalker
Mike Oldfield - QE2
Wishbone Ash - Argus
Colin James And The Little Big Band - II
The Albion Band - The BBC Sessions
AC/DC - Black Ice
The Kinks - Phobia
Camel - A Live Record
Rod Stewart - Rarities

Friday, 1 November 2013

Back To St Louis

Well, okay, now that my interest in Tami Erin (see http://spriggsblog.blogspot.ca/2013/10/pippi-is-lisbeth-or-at-least-tami-is.html) has waned, we can now return to my other current fascination -- the city of St. Louis, Missouri. http://spriggsblog.blogspot.ca/2013/09/meet-me-in-st-louis-lewis.html

And what a beautiful city it would seem to be!

I  have an affinity for the place, and i realise that this began when i started listening online to the radio station K-SHE from there virtually every day. But occasionally i also listen to radio stations from Kingston, Ontario and Auckland New Zealand, and i haven't been busy researching airfares to those places. In fact i'm beginning to think that, in a previous life, i may have been a Saint Louisan.

Now, here's the thing. In my previous post, i wrote that, evidently, St Louis has a high crime rate. This turns out not to be true at all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZFODAoYwOo

It's like Toronto. The G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area) has a very high crime rate, but the city of Toronto is a relatively small part of the G.T.A., and has a low crime rate. The Jane-Finch corridor, however (northwestern part and well outside the city itself) is a war zone.

Anyway, back to the subject.... I'm not a baseball fan at all but in the World Series, it was St Louis vs. Boston and i was wrapped up in it. Some seat-gripping moments there! Well, okay, the Cardinals lost (to, as John Ulett called them, the "Beantown Beardies") and i was disappointed, but maybe the St Louis Blues will do better in hockey.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pippi IS Lisbeth -- Or, At Least, Tami Is.

Quotation of the day ~ William Blake: And throughout eternity, i forgive you and you forgive me.

I've written a lot over the past year about my obsession with the literary character Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the fact that she was partly based on Pippi Longstocking.

I've also written about my tangential interest in Tami Erin, the woman who played Pippi in the 1988 film, including, in my last post, a fact that reinforces my idea of Pippi-As-Lisbeth -- that Tami Erin is releasing a homemade sex tape.

Well, it's out, and parts of it have been leaked already, and i've watched them. Yes, i have, although celebrity homemade sex tapes normally bore me stiff. (Er, probably not the best choice of word there, but, as The Beatles once advised, let it be.)

Here's a censored pic from the film:

From what i've seen so far (and i saw the uncensored version), i'm not going to need a cold shower. I think my interest is about to end.

Here's the latest from my CD collection, btw (haven't added anything in a while):

And of course the playlist:

Paul Rodgers - Muddy Waters Blues
Blodwyn Pig - Ahead Rings Out
Steeleye Span - Time
Blue Oyster Cult - On Flame With Rock And Roll
Buffalo Tom - Big Red Letter Day
Be+Bop Deluxe - Modern Music
Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Scream
Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick - Walnut Creek

Monday, 21 October 2013

Pippi Longstocking IS Lisbeth Salander. Maybe.

Quotation of the day ~ Stieg Larsson: I started to write in 2001. I wrote the books for the fun of it. It was an old idea i had had since the nineties.

Some time ago, i posited the notion that Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo -- a literary character with whom i find myself totally obsessed  -- one of the most compelling characters in all fiction, IMHO -- was inspired by Pippi Longstocking. What Pippi might have been like when she grew up, an idea suggested by the author himself (Stieg Larsson) as being a salient undercurrent to the books.

I didn't really see it, except in very general terms (i.e., they're both socially dysfunctional misfits and underestimating their strengths can be disastrous) and to be honest, thought little more about it.

But then, in September, came the news that the actress Tami Erin, who played Pippi in the 1988 film, is about to release a home-made sex tape, and i thought: whoa! Lisbeth did something similar (although for very different reasons), is this yet another instance of life imitating art? Did Pippi (i.e., Tami) become Lisbeth?

With my unquenchable curiosity about all things Lisbethan, i investigated. It seems that back in April Tami was arrested for beating up her boyfriend. I love this! Tami Erin, who really isn't known for any of her other film rôles and primarily works for philanthropic and charitable organisations nowadays, has a violent streak. But hey, that's cool, i know how stressful relationships can be, who knows what was going on.

Then came the news that her boyfriend (the same one? i don't know) was planning to release a sex tape of the two of them doing the deed (or possibly several deeds). But it gets better. Originally, Tami fought the release tooth and claw, and i can see her point: what kind of a sleazeball (to use the technical term) would do such a thing? She must have felt hopeless and betrayed. (Lisbeth again.) But then (Lisbeth again) she decided to fight back: she is planning (as of this writing) to pre-empt the abovementioned sleazeball and release it herself.

Here's some pics of Tami (who's now 39):

Well, i think she looks abfab and if that tape ever really does see the light of day, i will try to find a copy -- purely in the interests of literary research, of course, because at 39 she's far too young for me <wink>

Here's the recent playlist:

Free - Live
Sparks - Kimono My House
Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
Jan Akkerman -- Live At Alexander's
Siouxsie And The Banshees - The Rapture
Tyrannosaurus Rex - Beard Of Stars
The Lovin' Spoonful - Greatest Hits
Fish - A Feast Of Consequences (twice!)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
Colin James - Take It From The Top
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Mama's Pride - Mama's Pride
Keith Emerson Band - The Three Fates Project
Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot III
Rory Gallagher - Tattoo
The Allman Brothers Band - Eat A Peach
The Oyster Band - Step Outside
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
Bruce Cockburn - Dancing In The Dragon's Jaw

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Quotation Of The Day ~ Ian Rankin:  Daytime drinking was special. In a bar, time ceased to exist, and with it the outside world. For as long as you stayed in the pub you felt immortal and ageless.

In case you're unaware, the acronym F.R.E.D. stands for f*ck*ng ridiculous electronic device and, yes, folks, i'm here to tell you about the latest computer problem i've had. For the umpteenth time....

Actually, i blame myself for this one. I don't know if i've complained about it here, but i know that i've been moaning a lot elsewhere about the amount of email spam i've been receiving lately -- "reduce your mortgage" (i live in an apartment), "$25,000 loan, low interest" (only available in the U.S.A., unfortunately), "Hot Girls In Milverton Want To Meet You!" (my ISP is based in Milverton) (how'd that little fact slip past the $25,000 loan people, i wonder?), you know the schtuff.  I normally just delete them, unread, but if i do happen to open one, i certainly never, ever click on any links.

But, last Monday, i received an email with no subject line and no sender's name and i opened it and ... my anti-virus software (Avast, probably the best of the free ones) immediately went nuts. Basically, a great huge boxing glove sprang out of the DVD drive and bopped me on the nose. Avast started a boot-time scan, but that self-aborted after a minute or so, the computer re-started itself and ... nothing worked.

I tried to open Avast, i couldn't. i tried to run HijackThis!, it wouldn't open. So i thought, why not uninstall and then re-install Avast, maybe that'll work. It didn't, i couldn't open the .exe file. So i tried to run System Restore. Oh, guess what? I couldn't.

I booted into Safe Mode to see what i could do there and -- woo hoo! -- to my amazement i was able to run a Malwarebytes scan. It detected, along with a few PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) a trojan -- Agent.V26 to be precise -- so of course i deleted the lot. Rebooted. Still couldn't open the Avast executable, so there i was, my desktop computer unprotected and potentially infected. There was no chance i was going onto the Internet like that, but thank god for my laptop.

I Googled, i Googled, and then i Googled some more. Didn't have a lot of luck, though, finding a solution. (Why is it, he asks rhetorically, that while there are around three billion computer users on this planet, so often i have problems that no one else -- judging by the forums -- has ever had?)

Confession time: my desktop PC runs Windows XP. Yes, yes, i know -- sentenced to death next April. Maybe my predicament would force me to buy a new desktop now rather than later, although it would place a terrible burden on my already-overstrained cash flow situation. But one does what one has to do (is my philosophy). And after all, i still had the laptop (and the smartphone) -- not like i would be completely isolated by any means.

But i tried one last thing. I ran Spybot Search & Destroy. (http://www.safer-networking.org/) Yes, it opened!

Now, at one time, Spybot had an excellent reputation as a malware-remover,  But then they changed their entire user interface, i didn't like them any more and evidently i wasn't the only one: i read quite a few poor reviews. But they've turned themselves around: it cleaned out everything that was stopping me from opening security software, i re-installed Avast! and now all seems well, whew.

Still and all, though, i see a new desktop PC in my very near future -- this old gal is definitely showing signs of age....

Monday, 30 September 2013

Back To The Music

Quotation of the day ~ Rory Gallagher: Push the tempo, push the time / No excuses, not this time.

Okay, yesterday's post -- the one about St Louis -- was not the best thing i've ever written. I admit it, but i'd been trying to write it for so long, trying to elucidate my feelings and examine my interest in the place, with no real conclusion in mind;  ultimately it became more of a frustration than anything else and i just wanted to get it done, published and over with so that i could move on.

To my CD collection LOL. Here's the next batch:

And, of course, the playlist:

Fish - Feast Of Consequences (twice!)
Coldplay - Parachutes
Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within
Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot
Black Country Communion - Afterglow
Chicago - Chicago VI
The Butterfield Blues Band - East-West
Saga - 20/20
Eric Clapton - Me And Mr Johnson
Peter Hammill - Thin Air
Sheryl Crow - Feels Like Home
Garfield - Out There Tonight
Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Brian Plummer - No Questions

Th-th-that's all, folks!!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Meet Me In St Louis, Lewis

Quotation Of The Day ~ W.C. Handy: St. Louis woman, wid her diamon' rings, Pulls dat man 'roun' by her apron strings.

Something very odd has happened to me over the past few months -- i have developed an overwhelming urge to visit St Louis, Missouri. As the regular reader of this blog (i.e., me) will recall, thanks to the recommendation of a friend who lives in nearby St Clair, Missouri, at the beginning of this year i started listening to radio station K-SHE (www.kshe95.com) from St Louis (two of their slogans are "Real Rock Radio" and "The Rock Of St Louis"), and it's now my favourite radio station -- i listen online virtually every morning.

(Just as an irrelevant aside, i find it odd that few of K-SHE's deejays use their full names: there's Tommy T., Lern [Lauren Colvin], Uman [John Ulett -- a legend in St Louis broadcasting, i'm told], there's Radio Rose [i think her surname is Dalton], there's Favazz [no idea what his name is or even what the word means!] but there's also Mike Doran -- well, there's one in every crowd...)

Listening to the deejays talking about the place -- and even listening to the local ads -- piqued my interest. I even subscribed to The St Louis Blues Twitter feed and ordered one of their baseball-style caps, and my interest in hockey is non-existent!

For a while, i was working on the thesis that St Louis is one of the relatively few cities in the world that has an instantly-recognisable skyline, thanks to The Gateway Arch (so-called because St Lou is "the gateway to the west" -- an expression which dates back to the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804, which set off from there). It's a massive structure, half the height of the Empire State Building, and looms over the city in the same way the CN Tower looms over downtown Toronto. But my thesis lies in shreds: i showed a photograph of the St Louis skyline to nine people and only one identified it -- although when i posted the photograph to Facebook, i had a much better response -- but that's shabby research. Very few responders got it wrong (one guessed "Elizabeth Taylor," some friends i got!) -- but that could well be because the people who didn't know, didn't attempt to guess. So, ultimately, i don't think that my thesis is entirely valid. Not bad, but not great. My conclusion is, that anyone who has seen it, can never forget it, but many people (at least outside the U.S.A.) simply have never seen it.

Evidently St Louis has a fairly high crime rate. That's okay, though -- if and when i visit i shall fear no fear. (When i lived in N.Y.C. in the 70's, before it cleaned itself up, i loved to just walk around and i inadvertently wandered into both Harlem and Hell's Kitchen -- both notoriously nasty neighbourhoods at the time -- i must have a beatific smile or something because i was hassled not.


It looks like a beautiful city, the downtown area seems to have a lot of wide avenues, a lot of green spaces...

Here's a selection of random photographs of the place, maybe they'll help explain my curiosity:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Quotation of the day ~ King Edward VII: It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you don't frighten the horses.

Hi, everyone.

That extraordinary structure above me there is The Gateway Arch in St Louis Missouri, with the Mississippi River in the foreground.  And what i'm stuck on is its recognisability. You see, for a couple of weeks i've been working on a blogpost about St Louis, and part of my thesis was that it is one of the fairly small number of cities in the world that it instantly identifiable by its skyline. See the CN Tower and you immediately know that it's Toronto. The Statue of Liberty? New York, obviously. The Eiffel Tower? Paris, bien sûr! The Gateway Arch ... er, perhaps not. To test my idea i showed the photo to three people at work. One said "it's on the tip of my tongue," one said "I've seen it before but i don't remember," and the third guessed "Vancouver?" (The last time i was in Vancouver, it wasn't on a major river -- but that was quite a few years ago.)

Admittedly, my test group was far from my demographic ideal -- only three people, and all members of a group most of whom are just down from the trees. But that's why i'm stuck. I cannot continue until i've shown the picture to a wider group. Plus there's the minor fact that i don't really know where i'm going with the St Louis post anyway -- apart from trying to explain my fascination with the place.

So for now, i'll continue to conceptualise and today i just present the further adventures of ... my CD collection:

Oh, and of course, my recent playlist:

George Harrison - Wonderwall Music
Dead Can Dance - Spiritchaser
Blodwyn Pig - Ahead Rings Out
Jack Bruce - Cities Of The Heart
Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
Harry Nilsson - Pussycats
Runrig - In Search Of Angels (1st album with Bruce Guthro)
Runrig - Mara (last album with Donnie Munro)
Rory Gallagher - Top Priority
Stone The Crows - Teenage Licks
Fish - Feast Of Consequences
Sheryl Crow - Feels Like Home
Judy Collins - 5th Album