Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Music 200 (and 13)

Friday, December 20th, 2013

I’m  back on the blog! Had some time out to explore depression and medication and lots of talking about how we don’t talk about those things but now it’s time for the albums that my ears and brain approved of the most this year, with words and music.

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1 to 10

Autoheart: Punch
“When in Moscow I just want to fold you up and keep you warm.”
The long-awaited debut album from The Artists Formerly Known As The Gadsdens finally arrived this year! Big hitters like The Sailor Song, Control, Agoraphobia Lent and Moscow alongside some quieter beautiful moments made this my favourite album of the year. Autoheart’s music comes from the (auto) heart and they have the tunes to match the atmospherics. Some of this album is brain shiver music, some of it is nod-along pop, all of it is an impressive debut long player.

Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob
“What you are is lonely.”
I was aware of Tegan and Sara before this album but they never really got into my head. Heartthrob is a nice simple old fashioned set of ten songs, no filler, all worthy of praise. Call me a cliche but it must be the Greg Kurstin influence on the project that got me hooked, he knows how to get the ‘ooomph’ out of T&S and the increased pop feel doesn’t compromise their integrity.

Slow Knights: Cosmos
“How do you feel better when you can see on my face I’m miles away?”
Slow Knights couldn’t possibly fail for me due to the calibre of the talent. It’s the follow-up to Del Marquis’ excellent series of solo EPs and his recent EP with Xavier, it also features Rod from Bright Light Bright Light and it’s a bit like a compilation of several new favourite bands. Stand-out track Under Attack certainly owes something to Madonna’s Holiday but this is no pastiche record.

Alison Moyet: The Minutes
“When I was your girl I didn’t know that I would end where you begin.”
Alison Moyet + Guy Sigsworth = More than the sum of their parts. There was so much written about Alison’s comeback but she’s been making great albums for a long time now, luckily this one got a lot of attention. Delicious meaningful electropop, supported by an excellent live show that featured The Bloke From Artmagic on musical boffinry. Bloody fantastic!

Studio Killers: Studio Killers
“… Every night, they fall like dominoes. How he does it, only heaven knows. All the other men turn gay wherever he goes.”
I missed out on Studio Killers until suddenly lots of people whose taste I approve of online went mad for them. They were not wrong! A strange cartoon virtual band of non-specific gender making catchy quirky electropop. That’s my kind of music.

VV Brown: Samson and Deliliah
“I don’t really feel like trusting, It’s not worth it anymore. Like a knife overloving you, and you’re hurting me more and more.”
VV Brown’s second album was not what I expected at all. I loved the majority of her debut but the first single from this one did nothing for me… and then the whole thing appeared and it got into my brain. Atmospheric, complex and the kind of music that creeps up on you after a few plays: this is an excellent album.

Diane Birch: Speak A Little Louder
“Do you steal away when she’s asleep? Does she know that’s all the love you got?”
Another artist on album number two but I had no idea what to expect with Diane Birch (I bought the debut soon after hearing this one of course). A lazy comparison would be Stevie Nicks with more balls and less owls. I like lazy comparisons sometimes.

David Bowie: Next Day
“And they know just what we do. That we toss and turn at night. They’re waiting to make their moves on us. The stars are out tonight.”
Dame David returned. You may have heard about that. Luckily, it was a pretty amazing project with a wide range of Bowie styles and some amazing videos. Shame about the second special edition in a year but of course I bought it all over again because nerd etc.

Gabriella Cilmi: The Sting
“Why do good things happen to bad bad people? Why do bad things happen to good good people?”
The third album from Ms Cilmi is her best yet. It’s also her big independent moment, full of lovely sounds, big pounding beats, and that voice. Has a song about stealing honey from bees, which is clearly not going to end well.

Rebecca Ferguson: Freedom
“We are golden. We’ll be fine.”
Someone from the evil X-Factor made an album that I loved. I’m not ashamed. Great stuff, full of heartbreak and a bit of disco. She seems to be the new Gabrielle but the old Gabrielle (aka Gabrielle) has returned with a compilation that doesn’t count as a new album for my 2013 Albums list.

11 to 20

St. Lucia: When the Night
“Hold on to your heart.”
Sometimes you just need some sunny pop made by a band who seem to be having a lot of fun.

Jonny Cola and the A Grades: Spitfire
“I had it in my sights and then rain stopped play.”
Another solid collection of catchy slightly seedy tunes from the glam rock britpop pop fops.

Haim: Days Are Gone
“Never look back, never give up.”
California long hair sunny Fleetwood Mac Bangles-y pop gold. Marvellous!

Janelle Monae: Electric Lady
“Grandaddy, I think I wanna dance.”
She’s still a robot, with another impressive release. The skits are getting tired now but the music is as funky and energetic as ever.

Pet Shop Boys: Electric
“Searching for the soul of England, drinking tea like Tony Benn.”
The PSB dance music album was well received and it took a while for me to get into it. In the end it was a success to my ears with some very Pet Shop Boys songs but made me feel a bit old in places. Ooh me back.

Boy George: This Is What I Do
“What’s the word on the street? Have I lost my crown or will I be king again?”
A proper return for Boy George! None of this remix malarky or DJing, an actual album of good songs done with his band. This kept the reflective mood of his Mark Ronson collaboration and added lots of classic Boy George themes and sounds.

Fitz and the Tantrums: More Than Just A Dream
“A love song’s on the radio, but these words I hear, they’re not for me, no.”
We love Fitz & the Tantrums in our house. I don’t think they’re very well known in the UK but their second album has added an element of dance pop to their funky band-led soulful tunes. At first I was wary of the change but then I loved it.

Alice Smith: She
“He didn’t know he would get shot. Shot in the heart.”
Another second album! Another one of husband Jamie’s recommendations! The track which hooked me reminds me of a funkier Titiyo for some reason but this is one of those great reliable modern R&B – but- eclectic albums which is quite far from the current trend for autotune stripper music. Soulful!

Suede: Bloodsports
“Aniseed kisses and lipstick traces, Lemonade sipped in Belgian rooms.”
In a year of musical returns we had Suede making a new album, which was a pleasant surprise. Bloodsports is not their best album or their worst album but it sits happily in the middle of their catalogue. It does what it needs to by re-establishing them as a good band but the marketing and track allocation was a disaster across multiple special editions in different countries plus exclusives for here and there. Couldn’t we have just had all the songs together please?

Little Boots: Nocturnes
“Meet me on the motorway. Together we could make our great escape.”
It had been a while since Ms Boots was in the spotlight but her return was a welcome one. Some classy electropop growers on this album, especially the Saint Etienne – tinged Motorway.


Other formats that were not albums but deserved a mention:

Sky Ferreira: Night Time, My Time: B-Sides // Part 1
The album is not out in the UK but this ‘b-sides’ EP (do we even have b-sides anymore?) was released so represents Sky’s music. It’s been a Sky Ferreira year, what with the album and all of those unreleased songs that live on my ipod.

Gabrielle new tracks: Now and Always
Another musical return, the much-missed (by me) Gabrielle released a Best Of with some new songs that were all impressive, covering heartache, a trip to the disco and a bit of acid jazz.

Bright Light Bright Light: In Your Care EP
Rod Thomas released an EP to bridge his debut album and what comes next. It was exactly what you’d want from him: Emote-pop with drum pads and cracking tunes.

Rose Elinor Dougall: Future Vanishes EP
Rose is back! She’s still poppy with an atmospheric twist! New album please.

Betty who: The Movement EP
Betty Who is no relation to Doctor but managed to get a huge amount of attention with her free EP. Free! EP! It’s very good and poppy and smiley.

Solange True
This EP almost became a bit samey but took a while to get under my skin. Good stuff, but may need to be more varied next time.

Next year’s exciting things to come:

The return of (Dame) Lisa Stansfield!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s collaboration  with Ed Harcourt!

James Vincent McMorrow’s excellent second album!

A new album from Sia?

Something long from Florrie?


Information: The Village

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Our latest road trip included a visit to The Village where I wanted to run around shouting and being a bit grumpy (not much of a change from my usual mode really) but managed to remain calm and take hundreds of photos instead. Here are a few of the best ones, followed by a soundtrack of some of the accompanying trip music…

The Village (aka Portmeirion) as seen from up in the woods where we managed to escape to / hopped off the little train tour. So much lovely architecture!

Welcome to your village. The sun was out for the beginning of our exploration but the wind was rather fierce at times.  I took dozens of photos of arches.

The village green, with its beautiful gardens. So much nicer than that messy area behind our house.

The green as seen from up near the dome.

Shops and cafes, formerly used as exteriors for various homes in The Prisoner.

Jamie and one of the many arches. This one is up near the shops.

On the beach, where Rover was nowhere to be seen. Bloody windy though!

Back up to the main village after beachy fun times.

Be seeing you.

Soundtrack time! Here are some of the new tunes making me do the approving nod:
David Bowie: The Next Day. The album is still on rotation in my ears and this new video has just been released. Suitably weird, pretentious and exciting:

Ronika: Rough n Soothe. The latest single, another smash:

Florrie: Live A Little. Florrie has never put a foot wrong, hopefully there will be a full album sometime soon:

Fitz and the Tantrums: More than Just A Dream. The title track from their second album which introduces some new styles but the band still rock:

The Cliks: Savanna. Another returning top band, album duly purchased once again:

Slow Knights: Shame and Sweet Harmony. The Del Marquis / Bright Light Bright Light and pals supergroup have made my favourite album of the year so far:

Little Boots: Motorway. The second album Nocturnes is here! Loving this:

Don’t be a fool! / And your big fat dog

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

It could be said that I’m a bit obsessed with the work of Claudia Brucken…

That was some of my Brucken stash, dating all the way back to my years as a strange child. I finally saw her perform live last night after being a fan for almost 30 years (am I really that old?) and it was an excellent celebration of a fine catalogue of work. This tour is to promote the latest album the Lost Are Found which is a ‘dreaded covers project that’ is thankfully not a sign of running out of ideas, and songs from that were interspersed with a greatest hits selection taken from her previous release Combined. In other words, a perfect set list!  Covers of mention included David Bowie’s Everyone Says Hi and Stina Nordenstam’s Memories of a Colour, mostly because they are songs that I bought by the original artists and are covered well. We had never been to the Borderline before and made the mistake of arriving too early so had a lot of standing around but we got a great view near the front and the achey legs / feet were only a temporary problem. The venue seemed to be 95% middle aged gay men which amused and fascinated me as I hadn’t realised the gay factor was quite so high with her fans but then I am a middle aged gay man so it makes sense. There’s probably an interesting study of music tastes and sexuality of fans somewhere but my media studies days are long behind me now despite finding this kind of thing worth pondering. Anyway…

Claudia was of course fantastic throughout and seemed to be having a thoroughly great time, and her band were impressive. Special mention for David Watson who excelled as co-lead vocalist on the Act songs Snobbery & Decay and Absolutely Immune, giving an energetic and entertaining performance. He shifted back into his other job of backing vocalist and occasional guitarist with a more subdued personality, getting it exactly right. The other Mr Watson (James Watson) provided several excellent guitar solos,  including the one during the old Propaganda song Dream Within A Dream which handily gave most of the band time to nip backstage for a comfort break. As expected, we had the joy of seeing three Propaganda singles performed and Duel was the slightly obvious but always appreciated encore moment where the crowd went wild (and we clapped a little bit more than usual).

As well as the Act and Propaganda singles we also enjoyed the nineties solo single Kiss Like Ether, some onetwo singles and the newish songs from Combined: Thank You and Night School. A faultless performance!

Specks In The Sky in a pub in Camden

Monday, January 28th, 2013

We went out on Saturday night like what the young people do, or so I am told.  Off to that North London for a gig in a pub in Camden Town via a series of trains and buses and footsteps, which at times was a bit stressful (obligatory bus nutter screaming at the bus driver because the replacement tube line bus was “not clearly labelled” despite being clearly labelled) but definitely worth it. What was it? It was Specks in the Sky, which is a night described on its Facebook page as this:

Not-for-profit music events promoter in London. We only book acts we love. We look after our artists and we look after our audiences.

That’s pretty simple and the evening was all about good music. I’ll plug the elements of that night as they deserve it…

DJ Sina played some tunes that were probably related to his All-Girl Pop Rock Indie Disco club night Debbie that I’ve never been to because I don’t like clubs. It sounds interesting though and he’s on Tumblr where you can see his great diary comics and pictures. Bonus points for playing Tori Amos’s cover of Ring My Bell which I had completely forgotten all about and now have to rummage through old CD-Rs to find.

Samantha Ashleigh Hayhurst can play the keyboard and sing and say “thank you” in at least three languages. Her music is on Soundcloud here and an example of it should appear below this sentence.

Ghost Carriage Phantoms are not as scary as their name suggests although I was concerned about how close I was to their glockenspiel. They did an acoustic set and kept swapping instruments between songs which kept it interesting, including the glockenspiel, two guitars, a small drum, a foot, some hanging jangly vibes-y things, a powerful male voice (whoah! ) and one of those hand-held mini keyboards that you blow into which I can never remember the name of.  An odd fascinating musical experience that has led to me listening to their album that I bought just before I started typing this.

The final band of the night were The Melting Ice Caps who seem to be available in a series of limited editions. Past live versions have included Full Band,  CD Walkman and Vocals (plus umbrella) and Acoustic Band.  This time is was Three Piece With Occasional Flipchart. I’m a big fan and you may have noticed other blogs on this subject using words and phrases like “super singer songwriter” , “occasional indie disco” and “quite good” but the music speaks for  itself so here’s some ‘speaking’:

If you ‘Like’ Specks In The Sky on Facebook you can find out more.

Music 2012 : How melodic.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Another year draws to a close and my annual plan to spend less money on music due to my ever-increasing old git status has failed as usual. I found that this year had a much higher proportion of reissues than before, due to the boom in deluxe pretty thing reissues in lovely packaging full of hard to find old songs. Nice. I also got into my charity shop record hunts in a big way and the wad of vinyl LPs is expanding across the room. Anyway, this blog post is concerned with the new stuff, specifically the tracks of the year. Albums to follow, along with some other odds and sods.

“We could have made it but we didn’t have the stamina, we both lost out in the end. “ Autoheart: Control. This track has been around for a while but its official release this year meant it sneaked back into my end of year review. Autoheart’s forthcoming album is my most eagerly awaited music of 2013 due to the quality of their songs which have appeared in the usual places on the internet. Melodic heartfelt pop is their strength and that’s something that I adore!

“Once a passion filled your eyes, left me speechless , satisfied. Now tonight all we have is this darkening sky.” Jimmy Somerville: Taken Away. Listening to this song led me to buy the EP it comes from, then his two other recent EPs and then his entire back catalogue. Jimmy Somerville is in an imperial phase right now but is not really in the limelight as much as he should be.

“It’s getting louder and louder and louder and louder and louder.” The Irrespressibles: Two Men In Love. This choice could have been their electropop + orchestra song Ship, narrowly beaten by the beautiful epic slow-build of a song that will not surprise you when I say it is about two men in love. The album is pretty amazing.

“From the outside, from the outside. Everyone must be wondering why we try.” Jessie Ware: Wildest Moments. One of those artists who was tipped for the top that actually did some tipping (in my ears)! This has soul, which is sorely lacking in a lot of modern pop music. Smooooooth but not too glossy, just right.

“Patiently, I’m waiting. For you to give up everything. And say just what you mean.” Twin Shadow: Patient. I discovered this song in our car via Jamie’s iPod, loved it, bought the album, played it a lot. I like it when that happens! Twin Shadow is one to watch, great song writing and performing, and the videos are also excellent. This one has dance routines!

“Tell me the truth boy, am I losing you for good.” Solange: Losing You. She’s back! She’s still amazing! Phew. This song is both old-fashioned and new/exciting. Funky heartbreak, oh yes.

“I’ll be your warrior.” Mark Foster, Kimbra and A-Trak: Warrior. An unexpected crossover episode! This single with Mark Foster from Foster The People gave Kimbra’s album a further push, which was nice. I may be too old to know who A-Trak is but this is a super energetic pop number with the kind of offbeat video you’d expect from Mr Foster.

“You’re the reason there’s still hope in my heart.” Bright Light Bright Light: Feel It. Inspired by Laura Palmer’s diary and cheesy 90s dance pop, and featuring a great big diva voice : how could I not love this? Great single from an excellent album. Well done that man Rod Thomas.

“Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge, nobody wants to see your fingertips, detached from your piano fingers… At least not yet.” The Melting Ice Caps: Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge. This song is superficially a series of health and safety warning signs but actually something cleverer, as I would expect from the mind of David Shah (Mr Ice Caps). Another recommended album there.

“And when the music stops …” Little Boots: Headphones (Ronika remix). Yes, a remix! This version is better than the original, a peculiar old school dance sound about a disco with weird pitch changes to Ms Boots’ voice to make it just marvellously different and a bit non-specific gender. Hard to explain. Now where’s the album?

“She’s working at the pyramid tonight.” Frank Ocean: Pyramids. This one is also rather odd, in a great way. It’s not quite hip hop and not quite R&B either. When I got this album it was a priority playlist on the iPod for ages and deserving of all the hype it got.

“To you it’s just the same old story. Another fairy tale made of faded glory.” David Morales and Roisin Murphy: Golden Era. This Murphy / Morales collaboration was a lovely surprise and it was everything I hoped for in such a project. A deep housey disco number with regret in the lyrics, should have been a big hit.

“Get lost, you’re dancing to the beat of a different drum .” Gossip: Get Lost. The album may have annoyed some of their older fans (in loyalty, not in years) but this Xenomania collaboration was the first Gossip album I loved enough to buy. I’m weird but the vibes were right and this track is the highlight of a great pop long-player.

“… the dead don’t go away, They made us what we are, they’re with us every day.” Pet Shop Boys: Leaving. I loved this track immediately and recently the lyrics make me a bit too sad, which is not really a bad thing for a song to do when I think about it. A mixed album but I would compare it to a good b-sides compilation and we do love our b-sides.

“That’s why, the carols make you cry. Joy.” Tracey Thorn: Joy. Another weepy happy song, one of the original compositions on Tracey Thorn’s excellent (more than just a) Christmas album.

“No one should settle for a maybe, I’ll get an answer for you soon.” Saint Etienne: Answer Song. So many lovely songs on their Words and Music album but I had to choose one. I’ll go for the sad romantic one every time!

“I’m ready to learn what it tastes to burn, I’m gonna let you show me what it means to breathe fire.” Niki & the Dove: Tomorrow. I found this Swedish duo via a blog and was captivated by their atmospheric brand of slightly freaky big electropop.

“Honey get your hands off those boys. Honey put your arms around me.” Bearcraft: Honey. Another one of Jamie’s favourite artists and this single was definitely their best work yet. Bearcraft have been quiet recently as Dicky Moore (Mr Craft) has been busy playing guitar for Scritti Politti but they’ll be back with an album of this melodic synthpop soon.

“Sad, so sad.” Elton John vs Pnau: Sad. Not actually all that sad, mostly very pleasant and melodic. I think “melodic” is becoming one of my words. As well as this Pnau collaboration via a remix project I also finally bought Elton’s discoey Thom Bell Sessions on CD but didn’t get the urge for any other albums.

“I’m always trying to tell you, I’ve got problems, That I can’t work out.” Gaz Coombes: White Noise. The return of The Artist Formerly Known As Gaz From Supergrass was a big success for me and this track in particular showed him in fine form.

Next time: Albums of the Year, maybe some Gigs and Covers. The version type, not the images on the front of records although I do like those too.

Normal For Norfolk

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

We spent the weekend in Norfolk and I too quite a lot of photographs. Here are some of them and they don’t really need explaining. Great times:


Absolute Joy

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Scritti Politti played in Windsor last night so we spent an hour and a half on a series of motorways (and only 25 minutes to get home) and visited The Firestation. It would not be a shock to reveal that the venue used to be a fire station, would it? It’s rather nice and I found myself sipping a refreshing lager beer on a Friday evening like it was the nineteen nineties again, waiting for all the fun to begin. After a late start we found our way up to the seated area with other young old gits and sat watching the young folk down on  the ground standing still except for the Top of the Pops Corner which  consisted of a lady and a flamboyant man who pulled some shapes during the more up-tempo numbers.

What was it like? Well…

The band need explaining as it’s a complicated list of people I’m vaguely familiar with:

Firstly we have the man who is Scritti: The Marvellous Green Gartside who did a little introductory speech for most of the songs in the Scritti Politti Songbook before switching his voice into that special warm soulful sound that doesn’t seem quite real but definitely is. Green had a cough but this didn’t appear to affect him at all and I was hypnotised by his performance of so many songs that I’ve loved for so long.

Rhodri Marsden was on keyboards and programming with a guitar for one song (Umm) and I recognised him from Dream Themes who we’ve seen live before. If you ever need a band who perform charming versions of old TV themes then they’re your men. If you’re interested in the programming of these live versions of the songs I can recommend the interview here which includes this: “what often happens is that I create a MIDI file with all the parts as I THINK they are. Green then works through it and corrects any mistakes I’ve made, and then creates / chooses all the sounds for the parts on his Mac. So by the end of that process we have a recreated Scritti song in Logic Pro which we then use to work from.” Now you know.

Dicky Moore played guitar and we know him better as Bearcraft whose Honey single from last year was on  my Annual Big List Of Good Stuff. you’ll like it, honest. Here it is:

Hot Chip’s Rob Smoughton aka Grovesnor played drums and some electronic elements from what I could work out. Great band and even though the sound system was “a couple of hi-fi speakers” according to Green the performance was top notch and a great teaser for a big full tour next month. They’re doing gigs with Saint Etienne who we’ve already seen this year, what are the chances of that happening?


Seeing the cream of the song book performed live, which is something I never thought I would see/hear. Absolute, The Word Girl, Wood Beez, The Sweetest Girl , Umm, Die ALone, Brushed With Oil and many more.

Green deciding to be a middle aged white man doing rapping on several songs from the Anomie & Bonhomie album. He was pretty good.

The bit on Die Alone where Green did the Meshell N’DegeOcello bits in a deep voice then quickly carrying on with his regular lines in his usual singing voice.

Their performance of A Day Late and a Dollar Short: one of my favourite new tracks and done in a very energetic way.

One new song which I don’t know the name of. No news on a new full album but  can be patient.

Here’s a musical taster for the different ages of Scritti Politti:

If it’s not already sold out here’s a link for next month’s Saint Etienne / Scritti Politti tour: click!


Plasticised camels / Nuclear Seasons

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

It was Jamie’s birthday last week and what says “birthday” more than looking at plasticised animals, dinosaur facts and equestrian skeletons? Yes, we went to the Natural History Museum  to see the plastic dinosaurs and my goth archaeologist sister who happens to work there. Here are some photos with a bit of new music because that’s what I’m like…

The plasticised camels were in the main foyer where photography was allowed so I didn't have to try and be sneaky.

I took a photo of a horse’s head. I am not the mob but I did get told off.


A different horse, also a lovely horse.

Musical interlude!

The new Jens Lekman has the perfect blend of heartbreak and beauty, if you like that sort of thing.

Charli XCX is our new Pop Diva of the Month. This single is chunky hooky electropop!

ToriBot5000 is back with a new album of old songs plus an orchestra! I shall buy this one.

MONSTA (who love the Caps Lock button) have made a video for their most excellent song from last year.

Gwenno has said that she won’t be in any future incarnation of The Pipettes (shame) but her new EP is lovely.

We ARE family!

An excellent horn clarification.

I found this funny because I am so very juvenile.

Sleep with the fishes (not asleep, also featuring mammals)

Careful now!

Animal Inside Out is only on for a few more days (until 16th September) but the whole museum is pretty amazing.


Try It (Heritage Railway)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

We visited the Epping To Ongar Railway on Saturday as a prelude to a family meal in Essex. I won’t go on about the vinyl records of Epping’s charity shop (funk!) but I will recommend the railway for anyone who even slightly has an interest in Ye olden Dayes as I’m not a train person and I enjoyed it.  Great stations full of interior design to keep me taking photographs and the train experience was fun. Here are some visuals along with new music that has been in my ears recently:

To the platform (s)

The Frank Ocean deserves all its hype.

A train, recently.

Michael Nyman & David McAlmont – Secrets, Accusations & Charges (Max Cooper Reconstruction) from Nick Cobby on Vimeo.

A beautiful song that can bring tears to my eyes is now something very different but just as hypnotic.

This is not my usual train.

Jessie Ware’s debut might be one of my Top Debuts of 2012. Coming soon!

Jamie, reflective / reflected.

Jamie played this in the car last week, I missed out on it when it came out earlier in the year. Extremely catchy!

Great knobs.

I bought a load of Jimmy Somerville EPs this week. his ‘new’ stuff is pretty good.

Trundling through the countryside.

Lianne La Havas’s album is one of those Summery things perfect for this heat.

Destination: North Weald.

An oldie but goodie… I only knew this song from the Pet Shop Boys version which I didn’t realise was a cover of this Bobby O record.


Pet Shop Boys version of Try It… so much more interesting than their new single.

Impressive bridge.


A Pointless trip to London

Friday, June 29th, 2012

We went on a mission to London yesterday for a bit of culture. Here are some photos:

A trip to ‘Baker Street’ which is actually just around the corner from Euston Square tube.

Speedy’s Cafe is appropriately named. The mushroom omelette and chips was quick and delicious… and about 40% of the sit-down customers were Sherlock geeks.

Speedy’s interior. Lots of Sherlock photos and even some drawings on those walls.

This is part of an interior wall in the Petrie Museum which is in the UCL campus. If you like Egyptian things from a very long time ago or enjoyed that documentary about Flinders Petrie that was on BBC Four a while back.

The Cats & That (plus a bit of Anubis) range at the Petrie was my favourite.

Eye of Horus please.

Then it was off to my museum choice which was actually Forbidden Planet. The plastic Barrowmans were extraordinarily lifelike.

After Westfield (it was air conditioned nicely but full of money-wasting orange types) we went to TV Centre for the first time in ages where I bought a nice TVC mug, we had some Unofficial BBC Victoria Sponge Cake (as seen at the Radio  Theatre Cafe recently) and then went into the studio…

No photography, how naughty! Well we used no flash, unlike several others. Do you want some Magic of TV facts about Pointless?

We saw episode 372 being made.

Unlike sitcoms and sketch shows which usually take up to three hours to record, Pointless only took 75 minutes for a 45 minute episode. It is a well-oiled machine.

Richard Osman has legs and is almost an actual giant.

The audience is actually tiny compared to every other recording we have been to. The standard rows of fixed seats were barely used (not even one whole row) and instead there were several rows of individual plastic chairs that made it feel a bit like a school assembly.

The shiny oval area at the front of the set is comprised of several sections of laminate, with a row of little lights attached as a blinky trim.

There’s a little pause before the Pointless tower starts to count down while a boffin does something important. Everybody does musical statues poses when that occurs.

When the tower counts down the audience have to do the “oooh” humming noise. I did a lot of oooh humming.

There are several levels of clap: disappointed light clap for a correct but not that impressive score, a big clap with an “ahhh”  when it’s good but not quite pointless, and a super clap with full scale whooping if they get a pointless answer.

The edging on the screen of the ‘podiums’ that the contestants stand behind is held on with velcro which makes it easy when the head to head requires the screens to have different colours.

No spoilers but one of the final round’s rejected subjects was ‘Katie Price.’ This rejection was not totally unexpected.