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Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Day Today

For one day only - an account of one day in the life of a writer in Whitley Bay as it happens minute by minute, cup by cup. Well not quite but you get the idea. 06.00

Up at Sid Smith Summertime and the usual rituals apply: herded downstairs by three hungry cats who want fed now dammit! Radio 4 on in the kitchen whilst I make a pot of tea.

A dead swan has been found up in Scotland - bird flu is suspected. Whilst I agree that the media coverage of the bird flu problem has bordered on the hysterical, I couldn’t help but be struck by Defra minister, Ben Bradshaw’s complacency about the issue on yesterdays edition of the Today programme.

When asked about advice given by Professor John Oxford which called for the vaccination of poultry stock, Bradford poured scorn on the academic “(his) advice and predications are very interesting because back as far ago as last August he was predicting that bird flu was imminent in this country, that its arrival was imminent. He’s been proved wrong on that.” Looks as though Ben might have spoken too soon.

Ginger Bob leaves the house on hunt / stealth mode which always makes me laugh. Maybe he’s hoping to come across a live swan for sport?


Take Debbie her cup of tea. Then it’s Tom’s turn to be woken up. It’s always seemed odd that no enterprising scientist has synthised the odour that overwhelms you upon entering the bedroom of a teenager boy first thing in the morning. The potent mixture of old sock, stale fart and bad breath inflicts a tear-inducing nasal karate upon the hapless visitor.

Tom is reading through his Vietnam War assignment which he completed yesterday.

We talk about last night’s edition of The Apprentice. The ineffectual Samuel got the bullet. Well done Sir Alan. Tom thinks Michelle should have gone.


Joe joins us for breakfast and the surreality factor really begins to kick in as the first thing he asks me having just got out of bed is "Dad, do you know what the average speed of a passenger plane is?" Just before Debbie leaves for work she acts out the effect of g-force as a plane takes off and Tom reveals his favourite word at the moment is Virtue – he likes the sound it makes.


Debbie and I confer about food for tonight. No firm conclusion is reached which means I’ll have to cobble some culinary epic from some old bits of tat. Just before she goes out to work, she excitedly tells me she bought me a present yesterday. What a girl!


Begin processing DGMLive guestbook entries and other uploads. Check emails and write some.


Say goodbye to the boys who leave for school. I carry on with Crimson related matters. I take a look at Krimson News, ProjeKction and Planet Crimson message boards.


Listening to I’m Gonna Be Strong by Gene Pitney by way of a tribute following his death yesterday. The ending to this classic song is a thrilling Cinemascope kind of coda – when he climbs those last three notes I always get goosebumps.


Finish DGMLive material and nip to the corner shop to get milk. The day is bright and breezy.
Over a cup of tea read through the headlines in The Guardian. Elsewhere, two of my reviews are up on the front page at the BBC music website.

Start work on:
Pete Brown Living Life Backwards compilation
Unreleased Fripp & Eno


From outside I can hear the screech of a high-octane cat fight in progress. I hurtle to the window assuming it’s Baby Wilson being punched up the throat moggie-style. In fact it’s Ginger Bob securing a victory against another ginger aggressor. Make note to self about developing a video game: Ginger Cat Total War.


An email from Ian Milne to tell me about the Front Row Muzak survey and the forthcoming Reith lectures.

Reject three attempts at a Pete Brown review. Compilations are great things but sometimes they can give you a false impression, flattening out the bumps and lumps of their original source album. In order to check out a hunch I have to check out Things May Come And Go But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever.


An email from Robert responding to my earlier query regarding unreleased F&E. This from his repy “With artists, you keep them moving in the creative domain. When you ask them questions about stuff, they die. With professionals it's different: they know that to function efficiently, life is almost all stuff!”


The post arrives bringing (amongst other things) three forthcoming Whitesnake reissues for review.


Brian calls around bringing with a copy of Q magazine and its feature on the 100 best albums as voted by the readers of Q. Needless to say we do what any two grown men would do – we immediately start counting up who owns the most of the albums in the list. Brian wins. Here’s the list with what I have on the racks marked in red. His are in blue. Where we both own a copy then it's a bit of both.

1 Radiohead OK Computer 1997
2 Radiohead The Bends 1995
3 Nirvana Nevermind 1991
4 Beatles Revolver 1966
5 Oasis Definitely Maybe 1994
6 Stone Roses, The The Stone Roses 1989
7 R.E.M. Automatic For The People 1992
8 Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory? 1995
9 U2 Achtung Baby 1991
10 Radiohead Kid A 2000
11 U2 The Joshua Tree 1987
12 Smiths, The The Queen Is Dead 1986
13 Buckley, Jeff Grace 1994
14 Beatles, The Abbey Road 1969
15 Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon 1973
16 Verve, The Urban Hymns 1997
17 Beatles, The The Beatles (White Album) 1968
18 Beach Boys, The Pet Sounds 1966
19 Beatles, The Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967
20 Clash, The London Calling 1979
21 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV 1971
22 Nirvana In Utero 1993
23 Dylan, Bob Blood On The Tracks 1975
24 Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction 1987
25 Coldplay A Rush Of Blood To The Head 2002
26 Strokes, The Is This It? 2001
27 Pink Floyd The Wall 1979
28 Sex Pistols, The Never Mind The Bollocks 1977
29 Beatles, The Rubber Soul 1965
30 Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here 1975
31 Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication 1999
32 Gaye, Marvin What's Going On 1971
33 Madonna Ray Of Light 1998
34 Rolling Stones, The Exile On Main Street 1972
35 Blur Parklife 1994
36 Dylan, Bob Blonde On Blonde 1966
37 R.E.M. Out Of Time 1991
38 Hendrix, Jimi Electric Ladyland 1968
39 Primal Scream Screamadelica 1991
40 Coldplay Parachutes 2000
41 Bowie, David The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust 1972
42 Velvet Underground, The The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967
43 Pixies, The Doolittle 1989
44 Joy Division Closer 1980
45 Dylan, Bob Highway 61 Revisited 1965
46 Bowie, David Hunky Dory 1971
47 Morrison, Van Astral Weeks 1968
48 Rolling Stones, The Sticky Fingers 1971
49 R.E.M. Document 1987
50 Love Forever Changes 1968
51 Who, The Who's Next 1971
52 Nirvana Unplugged In New York 1994
53 U2 All That You Can't Leave Behind 2000
54 Smashing Pumpkins, The Siamese Dream 1993
55 Portishead Dummy 1994
56 Moby Play 1999
57 Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975
58 Jackson, Michael Thriller 1982
59 Pearl Jam Ten 1991
60 Radiohead Amnesiac 2001
61 Beck Odelay 1996
62 Bush, Kate Hounds Of Love 1985
63 Hendrix, Jimi Are You Experienced? 1967
64 Rolling Stones, The Let It Bleed 1969
65 Massive Attack Blue Lines 1991
66 White Stripes, The White Blood Cells 2001
67 Gray, David White Ladder 1999
68 Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1977
69 Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible 1994
70 Travis The Man Who 1999
71 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against The Machine 1992
72 Davis, Miles Kind Of Blue 1959
73 Morissette, Alanis Jagged Little Pill 1995
74 Muse Origin Of Symmetry 2001
75 Doors, The The Doors 1967
76 Cash, Johnny American III: Solitary Man 2000
77 Clash, The The Clash 1977
78 AC/DC Back In Black 1980
79 Jam, The Setting Sons 1979
80 Bowie, David Low 1977
81 Stereophonics Word Gets Around 1997
82 Springsteen, Bruce Born To Run 1975
83 Weller, Paul Stanley Road 1995
84 Wonder, Stevie Songs In The Key Of Life 1976
85 Pulp Different Class 1995
86 Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2000
87 Harvey, P.J. Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea 2000
88 Young, Neil After The Goldrush 1970
89 Morrissey Vauxhall & I 1994
90 Cure, The Disintegration 1989
91 Public Enemy It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back 1988
92 Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go 1996
93 Marley, Bob Exodus 1977
94 Prince Purple Rain 1984
95 Iggy (Pop) & The Stooges Raw Power 1973
96 Kraftwerk The Man Machine 1978
97 Reed, Lou Transformer 1972
98 Beastie Boys, The Paul's Boutique 1989
99 Waits, Tom Rain Dogs 1985
100 Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

We conclude that Brian is actually far hipper than I am although I hint that more contemporary vibe to his side of the list is a sad attempt to try and appear more, ahem, "with it."


A break from the writing. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it’s like tunnelling through granite. Find I cannot concentrate on the task in hand whilst the music is playing – usually I can.

Time for another pot of tea – my second of the day. I process some more DGMLive items and then take a quick look around some blogs including

Espion Daily
You Are Allowed To Enjoy This
Steve Lawson
Grumpy Old Bookman
Guido Fawkes

I’ve been following Guido’s response the News of the Screw’s fake sheik story – and he’s right about Galloway being insufferable but in this instance he was right on the money.


It's official - the dead swan mentioned earlier has been confirmed as having the deadly flu virus. I wonder if Ben Bradshaw is available for interviews tonight?


Debbie gets home from work. Lots of catching up on her day. She was recently nominated by some of her colleagues for a Thank A Lot award which according to the blurb recognises “providing an excellent support service to other colleagues.” Debbie is kind of pleased and embarrassed at the same time – a very English response.


Brian rings, not to gloat about his album collection being hipper than mine but pondering over who might have killed Dennis Donaldson – you have to ask yourself who has the most to lose over the resumption of power sharing in Northern Ireland?


The Culture Show on BBC 2 had a neat little feature on Brian Eno tonight. You can watch it here - and look out for the clip of Eno sharing the Question Time platform with none other than...Ben Bradshaw!


I'm signing off now to go and watch Grand Designs with Debbie down in the red room.


Barry said...

Finding this at #95 means there has been some terrible error!

95 Iggy (Pop) & The Stooges Raw Power 1973

What you meant was:

1 Iggy (Pop) & The Stooges Raw Power 1973

Sid! Where's the red ink?! You mean...(aghast look) don't have a copy of Raw Power?

Well, I know what's in your Christmas stocking this year.


Sid Smith said...

I've just read the list back and realise that I've left off Wish You Were Here. Sadly no Raw Power is on the racks here in the yellow room although I am familiar with its charms.

A couple of people have written taking me to task for my lack of Radiohead as well!

Best wishes,


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