Thursday, October 1, 2009

Closing Down, Clearing Out And Blogging Off

Two years to the day since first firing up this slice of cyberspace puffery - I'm putting the Channel Mondo handbrake on as work and other daily bric-a-brac is getting in the way - I'll be pushing the stop button, rather than the delete key. So a big tip of the titfer to all the bloggers, browers, subscribers and chippers in who've had something to say or contribute over the 212 posts.

And as a last request could anyone who's got me blog-rolled, redirect the link to where all the usual PM Puffnstuff will be bubbling and babbling away - and I'll return the favour.

See you on the other side

You couldn't make it up could you - yes I really did get that word-veri last week

Friday, July 24, 2009

Podding Off For The Summer

Step into summer with Piley and I, as we have a second bob about in our homemade podcast Podrophenia. Based around the theme of 'summer' , it features a playlist that pipes aboard Bowie, The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, The Divine Comedy and Soundgarden as well as the usual nattering and banter.

Apart from that I'll be giving this blog a seasonal break - possibly re-opening in September.

You can celebrate summer by downloading Podrophenia here

Streaming here

Or grabbing via

Have a good summer and see you soonish

Friday, July 17, 2009

Really, Really Not The Sort Of Song You Want Rattling Around Your Head All Day.

Riddle me this Batman - what's the mystery tune?

But sadly, there it is seeded, singing and ringing around my synapses. A tune that gatecrashed my internal playlist yesterday, (my mistake for downloading I suppose) and has bounced about like mad spacehopper or a bad penny ever since. A loony tune on a permament loop.

Damn those seventies soundtrackers for their catchy compostitions

I know what is - but do you ?

Mystery Tune

Having said that, it would make the perfect soundtrack to my single figure total of DIY attempts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

iTunes Advice?

So Piley and I have recorded our first podcast, which is now listed on the iTunes store. But, with neither of us being ITS users have got a couple of concerns about getting our collars felt for the use of music.

Clearly we're just a tiny blip in the scheme of things, but, is iTunes as a platform, high profile enough for us to be possibly spotted by any passing trade who just happen to be DMCA PRS types - and as a consequence get busted for copyright, non-clearance or licensing issues regarding tunes played in the Podcast ?

Any ideas or suggestions on how we stand with the use of music in these things would be welcome? Or would we be better off keeping it local, and only posting Podrophenia on our blogs to avoid the dreaded DMCA takedowns..

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

P.A.M Airs

Piley and I have gone and recorded our first Podcast Podrophenia. It's an hour of chit chat and tunes based around the theme of cover versions with the pair of us muttering around about music - why not get an earful of it right here

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vinyl Countdown

It's pink vinyl and on Chrysalis - any ideas?

So how's your summer been going? Mine's been spent rediscovering the joys of vinyl. Thanks to a few sipping and spinning sessions in Coops garden, I've been inspired to pick up a portable turntable with built in speaker and handy USB connection for ripping to MP3. So the singles box has been collected from the loft, the cobwebbed albums dusted off and fired up at 33 rpm. Jazz sounds fab, George Melly's Nuts has been on almost perma-play, as has Sergio Mendes & The New Brazil 77 LP. Seven inch singles are the perfect pop format, with ideas and inventiveness at every level, and colored vinyl looks better than ever..

There really is simply nothing as soothing as some garden based sitting and spinning on a summers evening. I'd forgotten how pleasing the ritual of putting on a seven inch single is - combine it with 'lucky dipping': take a box of singles and what gets pulled is what gets played, and you've got perfect evening's entertainment.

Bargains bagged have been the Les Humphries Singers - Mexico for 50p, and this little haul from Spitalfields Market - a reggae cover of How Deep Is Your Love on 7", Pete Townshend's first solo album and three latin funk comps. Thirteen nuggets the lot - 'mazing.

So what's on the shopping list..George Melly Son Of Nuts, Head Hands and Feet Warming Up The Band (featuring an early doors Albert Lee and Chas & Dave). The Faces Maybe I'm Amazed (the studio version was a single only release).

Oh - and can anyone suggest a 'violet' 7" single to complete my vinyl rainbow (didn't Squeeze have one)

Red - The Damned - Love Song
Orange - UK Subs - Party In Paris
Yellow - The Dickies - Banana Splits
Green - UK Subs - She's Not There
Blue - UK Subs - Tomorrow's Girls
Indigo - ELO - Sweet Talking Woman

Last night's listening

Monday, June 15, 2009

Albums and singles as school prizes?

How many more times is Mike Oldfield planning to re-release and rework T-Bells

Do schools still do that anymore - give albums or singles as awards or rewards? I'd be decked if they did. Perhaps a voucher at a stretch. It's a much safer bet.

Intermittently at our school assemblies, some senior teacher would call to the podium, a star pupil who'd excelled at sport, come first in a competition or reached an outstanding level of somethingorother (it's telling that I've forgotten the categories, yet have total recall of the prizes). The student would bound to the stage like a spring lamb ready to be rewarded, but slump away like a crushed gump after receiving in recognition of their glowing over- achievements and reflected credit to the school - and these were actual prizes - Tubular Bells (for someone aged 12 in 1977?!?) and a few months later Matchstalk Men & Matchstalk Cats & Dogs (and not even the picture sleeve)..

Whoever came up with this stunt shot themselves in both feet with a double no-incentive whammy - lacking any appeal for either the heavy-hitting swots and sportsmen, or the fair-to-middling 'must try harders' like myself..

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Faking It

Where are my headphones I asked?
You can track your order online - they replied
See tracking order above for details - thanks for that then!

As I've probably mentioned before I'm a bugger for a bargain - charity shops (mainly books), T K Maxx (best buy to date a leather jacket reduced from £450 to £47) and of course the online goldmine that is eBay.

A couple of years back I took a bid-based punt on two polo shirts - a Fred Perry and a Penguin 'Earl' - both of which were listed with crazy cheap 'Buy Now' prices. When they finally arrived from the far east, the trademark penguin logo had more lean than the Tower of Pizza, and the Fred Perry, despite making a claim of 100% cotton, crackled like a static storm everytime it was removed.

But, I bounced back and tried a couple more bargain buys (from other 'Bayers this time, and still a third of the high street price). Perfect. Two years on and these clone-clothes are washing and wearing like a dream. Since then I've knowingly bought Converse, a Limited Edition Bathing Ape edition Casio G-Shock watch and reproduction Seditionaries t-shirts. All of which are hooky but authentic enough to be believable and and well made enough to be durable (unlike the first two fake-offs).

However, I am a low-level fuss pot about sound quality, and recently snapped up a pair of Sennheiser PX200 headphones listed on eBay at half the RRP. The delivery seemed to be taking longer than expected, so a quick peep of the sellers feedback rating revealed a history of fakery, neutral feedback and partial refunds. Whoops.

I'll live with a fake that looks and wears like the real thing, but can knock-off headphones actually simulate the sound fidelity of real deal Sennheisers or will it just be dodgy market electronics re-badged and branded as something superior?

I'll let you know if they ever arrive..

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last of the Indie Vid Shops

For all the justified mumbles, grumbles and moans regarding the decline of local record shops - it's easy to overlook the disappearance of another small scale independent entertainment outlet. Video rental shops. The last of the indie vid's in our area shut up shop a couple of weeks ago, and until the closed sign was finally flipped forever it maintained all the required trappings and trimmings of a generic local video shop

The 'card-full-o'-signatures' loaner system (was there ever a name for that?)

A sticker claiming '6 (or 8) copies available' on recent releases - although all 6(or 8)copies were rarely available.

Poster splattered walls and windows.

Oddbod titles with one solo signature on the rental card 'Dunstan Checks In'

Faded Copies of Donnie Brasco or Devil's Advocate for sale (£5)in the ex-rentals bin

So are there any still standing near you, and what are the names please? Or do you have any cherished memories from the eighties rental boom and beyond (£50 deposit and £1 a night hire) when video shops spread across the UK faster than swine flu.

A couple video-rewinds of mine are...

The first wave saturation of video renters and bandwagon riders. Record shops, garages even a hardware shop (yes I was a member) were lending from their extensive overnight libraries.

In the splatter-friendly pre-certification days, a film chosen as suitable viewing for a former girlfriend and myself by her parents (while they went out for an evening) was the full strength, unedited version of 'Cannibal Holocaust'!?!?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who Chooses The Music For Suburban Swinger Parties

Don't panic - I'm not thinking of throwing or going to some swinging affair. Although right now somewhere, someone (possibly even, someone you know ) will be planning and prepping a home-counties communal love-in this weekend. And like any other suburban do, there must be some pre-party production and a tick list of sorts

Drinks/nibbles to be bought (spicy must be off the menu)
Rearranging furniture
Tweaking the lighting
Choosing the music
Bowls for peanuts and car keys

So do they add some musical colour and atmos' at these low-key local get-it-togethers? Is there a carefully picked playlist of smoochy tunes perhaps titled 'Songs For Swinging Lovers'. You couldn't risk a random shuffle could you (behave - I mean on the iPod) suppose a passion killer from the collection boomed into view - Amazing Grace, Ace Of Spades or Grandad We Love You ..

On arrival is there the usual party pre-amble - "How's the job, any holidays planned" etc..and who gives the skirts-up/trousers-down signal. Surely the neighbours must rumble that something's ahoy as car-loads of unknown middle aged meddlers start pinching all the parking spaces..

It goes on everywhere you know - there's even visual evidence of local interest activties happening in my hometown and it's surrounding suburbs

Barge Gladys home to the family friendy Benfleet Yacht Club was notoriously outed in the Sunday papers some years back as a location for the am-cam movie 'Kym's Sea Shanty'.

A regular reader of this blog once lent me 'Benfleet a-Go-Go' as they named it. A sort of home made have-it-away-day filmed on the Fenchurch Street to Southend line one Sunday afternoon, a hand held not-so-steadycam film of two couples making their own in-carriage entertainment .

Even folksy Old Leigh isn't safe - the local nature reserve Two Tree Island is a magnet for dog walkers by day but doggers by night

So consider this - amongst your network of friends - work, social or virtual who would you ring as the swinger of the scene. Think of it as kinky Cluedo (Lewdo - perhaps) who is the Professor Plum or Miss Scarlet? Is that a lead pipe in his pocket or is he just pleased to see her, and what caper are they hoping to carry off in the study this weekend?

Or if you are someone hosting a communal cosy-up over the bank holiday, help yourself to this and think if it as something for the weekend. A very cheeky compilation titled 'I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight'- described as...

"From under the counter, Jigoku's Lovely Jon and Quiet Village's Joel Martin present this very rude, XXX rated (and as the title suggests, a very tongue-in-cheek) limited edition mix. Expect to hear sleazy disco, dirty funk, glam rock and punk interspersed with snippets of dialogue from blue movies, 70's jazzmag flexidiscs, and more. Distinctly British and distinctly 70s, this filthy little party mix is brimming with low-budget sleaze - utterly explicit and rather politically incorrect."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Let's R.O.C.K - All Girl Action

Girlschool - Snakes Alive the sort of hairy, scary girls that beat grown men at snooker, wear 'Makin' Bacon' T-shirts and keep a spare motorbike engine in the bath.

The Donnas - An agit-girl-gang and Red-Bull-Bangles that only bother with boys for lighting their gaspers and popping bottle tops..

*Note the SG's in both vid's plank-fans cherry red and natural *

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We Have A Winner - Lewis Collins

Well done, full marks and five house points to Office Pest for correctly nailing our mystery man as French Crop cop Lewis Collins.

In a past life the C15 agent, had been a bass player for Mersey band The Mojo's, whose semi-hit 'Everything's Alright' was covered by Bowie on his album Pin Ups...

Top work OP - you've won a peep at the the early non car-crashing-glass-smashing Professionals titles

For my earth pounds Lewis Collins would have made the perfect follow on Bond from Roger Moore. An approach was made by the Bond production team - but....

"It would be nice to get back to the original Bond, not the character created by Sean Connery - but the one from the books. He's not over-handsome, over-tall. He's about my age and has got my attitudes... I was in Cubby Broccoli's office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds. I have heard since that he doesn't like me. That's unfair. He's expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around. I think he's really shut the door on me. He found me too aggressive. I knew it all -- that kind of attitude. Two or three years ago that would be the case, purely because I was nervous and defensive. I felt they were playing the producer bit with fat cigars. When someone walks into their office for the most popular film job in the world, a little actor is bound to put on a few airs. If Cubby couldn't see I was being self-protective I don't have faith in his judgment."

He's even got a Myspace site you know..
Lewis Collins

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who's The (Not Quite So) Heavy-Hitting Celeb?

Strike a pose stage left

Strum a bass stage right

Any ideas? Couple o' clues...

He hit his peak in the seventies, but not as a musician.

Continental readers are unlikely to be as aware of his work.

Bowie covered one of his band's tunes.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Friday. Let's R.O.C.K

EODM - Almost everything you want from a Rock Band: a gallery of tattoos, quality vintage kit and the sort of heavy-level riffing that could flatten tanks..

Not many bands can crack the rock-o-nundrum of making squealy synths and screaming guitars work together. Electric Six can.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Confusement Has Occured

What's a'popping within this medley of madness? If the idea of a bespoke title theme for an Italian airing of George & Mildred (which surely should have been titled Giorgio & Moroder) isn't brain scrambling enough - consider these points...

Was the Italian G & M a straight export version just refitted with dandy new theme?

Or more jarringly perhaps, reworked as a continental adaptation?

And are those two pictured (Abba meets Borat) the actors or singers?

How did the 'composers' get away reformatting 10CC's Dreadlock Holiday into this number without getting walloped?

Where does 'Gin and Tonic' come into it?

*Goes purple and faints from the giddy overload*

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Run For Your Lives...

My neighbour from two doors up (literally) has got himself on the blog-buzz and fired off two shiny new numbers into the blogosphere...

A Patchwork of Flesh - where you can send in/trade your Frankenstein based artwork ( my contribution is above. I may call it 'Frankilyn')

Pinhead 45 posting tunes, tales and artwork.

Why not pop on over and have a peep...

New York Dolls - Frankenstein

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Right, I'll Be Off Then

Photo by Bleech - he's made The Observer you know

Well, that’s my lot for now and the holiday handbrake is officially ‘on’, as I'm heading north for a few days break next week. One of the CDs soundtracking the trip is a homemade comp ‘Last Of The Winter Mixtures’ - posted as part of the occasional Lazy Sunday series that appear here.

LOTWM is a lightly chilled selection with a slight (unintentional) northern theme throughout.If you fancy anymore of my Mondo Mixes they’re available here, or via my Facebook photo albums - apart from that I’ll leave you with a blast from my favourite new band Evolved Monkey.

So have a tip top Easter and I’ll be back soon(ish)

PS - by coincidence, guess who made The Archers Forum this week (I'm mentioned in message 30)

Last Of The Winter Mixtures

Roy Budd - Carter Takes A Train
John Martyn - Smiling Stranger
Yves Montand - Pour Faire le Portrait d´un Oiseau
Serge Gainsbourg - Melody
Minnie Riperton - Take A Little Trip
Dennis Hoppers Choppers - Ballad Of Fu Manchu and The Red Bride
Harsh Reality - How Do You Feel
Money Mark - Cry
Gather Round Children - Yoko In Idaho (Sufjan Stevens and Beatles mashup)
The Beatles - Flying
Stina Nordenstam - On Falling
Air - Soldissimo
Ian Brown - F.E.A.R
Easy All Stars - Karma Police
Baltic Fleet - 48 Hour Drive (Boston)
Boards Of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
Soundhog - The Doves Are Mine

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hit The North - But Where?

Northern Rockers

I’m heading north to Yorkshire for a few days after Easter (between Holmfirth and Huddersfield). During my Civil Service days I regularly buzzed through all parts northern, popping into hotspots and hubs like the Customs Houses or VAT Sub-Offices of Crewe, Blackburn and Wigan. Trips that came with the added bonus of a creative 'travel and subbies' system, - a great way to squeeze out a few extra earth pounds towards bulking up that budding CD collection.

But that was a million years ago, and I haven’t been up north since '97 when we camped in Castleton and had a spot of bother with mad Manchester axeman (yes, really) – I’ve found out since Castleon was the location for this Italian Splatter Pic’ – If only I’d known before.

I’ve got four days and open agenda apart from a visit to Huddersfield to see the site of the Sex Pistols final UK gig in '77 (was Ivanhoe’s Nightclub- is now a Lidls). And a stop off on the way up to have a real Bakewall pudding (you can’t call them ‘tarts ‘in Bakewell). So, any dos, don’ts or sites to see while doing my great north run would be massively appreciated…

PS Holmfirth and Haworth are probably on the cards too…

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Internet Is Broken

I changed ISPs last week - and during the crossover, had one day without any Interweb connectivity at home. I say one day, actually it was just one evening. But, for that handful of hours I don't think I've ever felt so cut-off, disconnected and cold turkey-ish. Unbelievable.

Holidays, sick leave etc... you factor in days away from the mainframe. Getting unexpectedly dropped is like Superman being stripped of his powers. No email, music downloads, bidding, browsing or blogging.

TV I can take or leave (when I take, I generally see why I leave). Radio I'll dip and dunk now and again. But the Internet is surely the most addictive of all plug-in-drugs, and so locked and loaded into your lifestyle - it's almost impossible to be without.

Meri Wilson - Internet Man

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something To Declare - Not For The Squeamish

Every area of employment must have it's own career related horror stories. You know, the sort of niche/job specific, urban myths, late night legends or even occasionally true tales that are related and reheated with shifty whispers and knowing nods.

In a former life I was a low-level civil servant working in the Train-The-Trainers department of Customs and Excise, where most of the senior staff, trainers or managers had served some sort of stretch in The Field being based at ports, airports or the Investigations Division (C&E's equivalent of The Sweeney) keeping a stealthy eye out for smugglers, stuffers and swallowers. A few of the tales told at leaving dos or seasonal drink-ups included...

A manager I worked under, who had previously been based at Dover (in the pre H & S 80s) was regularly required to carry out strip searches on any pulled-in suspects. His cut-off point came at lifting their 'old fella' with a ruler. If he hadn't found anything by then - they could keep it.

Part of the training for new field staff included role-play strip searches on volunteers (usually the same over-fifties volunteers everytime). I say role play but the searchees were completely starkers during the searches, with one of the ladies stow-it-away specialisms including tucking a pencil under the folds of her heavyset chest, where it usually stayed undiscovered everytime.

Now this one may be a shaggy dog story, but, I only heard it once while at Customs, and have never heard variations or re-tellings of it since - so you never know.

Medics became a legal requirement at strip searches after an incident where, a thread was spotted trailing party popper style from a suspects Parsons Nose. The over-zealous Customs Officer taking it as the sure-fire sign of a 'stuffer' grabbed the cotton whipping it out with the force of someone starting an outboard motor. The suspect collapsed concertina-style as the thread had been the tail end of internal stitches..

I could add intestines being sucked into aeroplane loos, clear perspex toilets to collect swallowers deposits, an overpowering lack of personal hygiene employed by stuffers to put people off the scent - literally. But perhaps I'll save those treats for next time..

Enjoy your lunch