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Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Drift by Scott Walker



















Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know...

There can’t be many releases this year, or any other year for that matter, whose songs take as their inspiration (at least in part) Elvis Presley’s stillborn brother, Al Jolson, donkey abuse, Milosevic, Mussolini, the Twin Towers and the Kaballah.

Though he’s often described as being ‘experimental’ or ‘complex’, The Drift is an anarchic full-on slap in the face kind of album.Simply put, The Drift makes his last album, Tilt, look about as avant-garde as a Partridge Family record.

The bone-shaking opener, “Cossacks Are” lets you know immediately that this isn’t going to be an easy ride even though it’s arguably the most accessible track on offer.

From here we enter the twilight world of “Clara”, ostensibly addressing Walker’s concerns about the rise of Fascism today by examining its ignoble past, the ghost of Mussolini’s mistress (the Clara of the title) makes a brief appearance to what sounds like a punch-bag being put through its paces.

If that sounds a little weird well, that’s because it is.

The album is packed with many disturbing juxtaposition. “Psoriatic” throws the sound of piping being clouted, slowed-down wood-saws, Dwayne Eddy From Hell style guitar, ball-churning thrums and sporadic bursts of 4/4 drumming. Oh and let’s not forget the demonic Donald Duck impersonation on “The Escape.” No kidding.

Don’t think that this is a collection of random noises thrown together for mere effect. Carefully constructed, painstakingly orchestrated, there’s a forensic attention to detail that borders on the fanatical.

In this respect The Drift reminds one of a dystopic version of Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden with its meticulous ear for contrasting dynamics.

It can be an intimidating blur of unfathomable references which bizarrely begin to form cryptic connections after prolonged exposure, an aural conspiracy theory which produces a shiver as you slowly realise that everything is spookily connected.

Even allowing for the fact that my musical tastes often wander into the obscure and non-traditional, it’s hard to remember when I last heard music as dangerously ‘out there’ or as perplexing as this.

Seeping in and out of it all, Walker’s singing – a ghost-echo of his pop past – materialises, rattling chains and cages without compromise or care; stalking through a perplexed clutter of erratic rhythms, serrated riffs and the eerie fog of Twin Peaks style twang-bar paranoia.

Only the last track, “A Lover Loves”, offers a sparse antidote to the harsh density of this dissonant, dissident manifesto. Here we have Scott Walker singing a song with an acoustic guitar. Surely nothing could go astray here? Well I wouldn't hold your breath. As elsewhere with this record, nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

Seven years in the making, The Drift is more an epic documentary of a turbulent exorcism than an album of songs. Both frightening and magnificent, I notice in iTunes it lists the genre as ‘unclassifiable.’ They got that right.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Here's Something You Don't See Everyday II

In a moment of downtime I was flicking through some BBC sites and saw a quote about Syed and The Apprentice on the BBC2 home page.

Hang on, I thought, that’s familiar. And so it is.

You’ll have to double click to enlarge the screen shot to see what I was getting excited about.

Here's Something You Don't See Everyday


I'm grateful to Brian T for sending this in this morning. Here's the background story.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Street Life XXXIII

A great view to start the day from...




So Long Syed

Well it had to happen. After weeks of dodging the bullet, Sir Alan Sugar finally fired Syed.


You could see Sugar was reluctant to do it but in the face of overwhelming evidence of this botched task (never mind the 100 chicken debacle or telling potential car owners that their purchase would not only retain its present value but double in a couple of years or forgetting the keys whilst trying to sell property or misplacing Wandsworth Bridge or…you get the idea), was inevitable.

We all love a chancer and Syed in that respect was certainly lovable. Whilst he has come across as a fairly oily character throughout the series, during the post-show You’re Fired! programme, I thought he presented himself very well and at least had the balls to admit his regret over some of his outrageous behaviour.

However he was good entertainment and in a way I’ll miss his jaw-dropping flying by the seat of his pants way of doing things. Ultimately Sir Alan was right – Syed was a risk not worth taking.

So who does that leave? Well next week two candidates will get the chop. My predication is that Michelle and Ansell will be doing a joint appearance with Adrian Chiles’ after show. That leaves Paul and Ruth to slug it out.

Personally I’m backing Ruth. Were Paul to get the job, his vastly over-inflated ego would balloon to even greater proportions and threaten to push us all off the planet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On The Ropes

It’s true what they say – a week really is a long time in politics.

Patricia Hewitt’s comments earlier in the week about the NHS never having it so good had the air of Nero fiddling. No wonder that all around her the Barbarian hordes (that’s the nurses folks) were baying for her blood.

It was always said that when it came to sleaze with the Tory’s it was money and with Labour it was sex. Good to know John Prescott is still upholding some old traditions then.

So Charles Clarke isn’t going to resign over his department’s cock-up that has seen over 1000 foreign prisoners being released into the community before being considered for deportation. Instead he’s going to stay on and sort it all out. Just how far off the rails does a minister have to go before getting the boot these days?

Little wonder that Blair looked so hacked off today during PMQs.

With friends like these...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Street Life XXXII

From the dark side to the sunny side of the street
7.00 a.m. or thereabouts




Monday, April 24, 2006

Blue Sky Thinking





This morning I headed off into Newcastle for a meeting with the bank. I was able to throw some money in their direction which had the happy effect of a) getting them off my back and b) enabling us to replenish the household stock of Marmite which had dwindled to perilously low levels.

This afternoon I've been working on some notes for Robert Fripp's soundscapes concert at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre. I played it back to back with Spem in Alium. Although different in tone, it seems to me these two peices had a lot in common despite the few hundred years which seperate them.

Elsewhere, I've uploaded some old reviews on a sister site to this one called, with stunning originality, Reviews From The Yellow Room. The intention is to dust off some old writing and ponderings and collect them all in one handy space.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Taking Liberties!

The arguments may be well rehearsed but I found it vaguely reassuring to read an exchange of emails between Henry Porter and Tony Blair.

When politicians stand up after a terrorist outrage they say “they will not affect our democratic freedoms” or something else equally noble. Yet they immediately do the opposite.

The bulk of legislation that has come in since 9/11 has diminished and eroded civil liberties. It’s not so much today I worry for (although I do) but rather my children’s generation. Blair and his government have made it much easier for future knee-jerk governments of Tom and Joe’s adulthood to make even more fundamental changes.

* * * * *

Stella Vine is opening her own gallery in London’s Soho and she’s cutting out the middleman. She's tired of getting her fingers burnt by the manipulative system that treats artists as mere chattels. Sound familiar?

* * * * *

I missed the scheduled Skype session tonight with Krim-chums as I got tied up with some family matters. I did however manage to do some work on a couple of old reviews I'd written, nipping and tucking and blushing at long-forgotten work the way you do.

This just in: my new wallpaper courtesy of Barry's blog.


Listening To
Blast by Centrozoon
You Are Here...I Am There by The Keith Tippett Group
Delta Flora by Hughscore



Friday, April 21, 2006

A Magical Act

"My point is that music, classical music as we know it, European classical music that we have today, will not survive unless we make a radical effort to change our attitude to it and unless we take it away from a specialised niche that it has become, unrelated to the rest of the world, and make it something that is essential to our lives. Not something ornamental, not only something enjoyable, not only something exciting, but something essential. Some of us are more fanatic about music, more interested than others, but I think we should all have the possibility to learn not only it but to learn from it. It is perfectly acceptable throughout the world that you have to have acquired a lot of life experience in order to then bring it out in your music making, but there's so many things that you can learn from the music towards understanding the world, if you think of music as something essential."
Daniel Barenboim
Lecture 3: The Magic of Music

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We Only Come This Way Once

The morning was spent writing – some of it paid and some of speculative.

Making lunch for the boys – noodles.

Whilst making bread for tonight's meal, I was listening to the radio and enjoyed an item on Country File with the artist Pete Stollery and his Gordon Soundscape project (a relief not to have to insert a K into the word).

More writing but my concentration isn’t as good as in the morning. So that means invoicing, filing and turning my thoughts to getting my reviews collected into one space.

Tom and Joe are cutting the lawn.

They stop to show me a mutant daisy with three, er…so what do you call the yellow bit in the middle anyway?


Later in the afternoon a phone call to a friend – a spot of catching up and then he tells me that a mutual friend lost his father yesterday.

An autopsy is required as his death was out of the blue.

It’s a stark reminder that we only come this way once, so we better address what’s important rather than waste time and energy on the peripheral.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Devil In The Detail

I’ve just been bodily thrown into a vast chasm filled with a colossal gathering of ominous dark shapes and occasional white flashes which might be the light at the end of the tunnel or the baring of exceptionally savage teeth about to bite.

Yes folks, it’s the new Scott Walker album, The Drift.

Elsewhere, and at the other end of the scale completely, Robert Fripp in Atlanta 25 02 2006. I thought the Rhythm and Brews gig from Chatanooga was excellent but Atlanta really raises the stakes.

After last week’s abstinence from any kind of recorded music this week has gotten off to an amazing start.

Two things these albums have in common - an incredible attention to detail.

Speaking of which, farewell Germano Facetti. He knew a thing or two about attention to detail as well.

The Apprentice: Tuan To Death

Once again The Apprentice had us on tenterhooks as Syed sailed even closer to the wind on this task. If you’re going to sell houses to people make sure a) you have the correct keys to said property and b) you have some kind of clue as to where you are.

Professing to be 150% a born and bred in London didn’t prevent Syed being unable recognise the difference between a humble railway bridge and a major river crossing such as Wandsworth Bridge. The result was Syed barking the name of a potential client at anyone moving in the vicinity of the wrong bridge, and a big fat “No sale.”

For all his stupidity, arrogance, lack of attention, patronising attitude, self-serving obsequiousness and inability to shut the fuck up, Syed occasionally shows flashes of up-against-the-wall brilliance that ensures he is an honorary member of the Self-Preservation Society.

With his credibility teetering on a cliff edge, he says “Hang on lads, I've got a great idea” and whips out to talk to a couple gazing into the estate agent’s window. A couple of hours later he’d clinched the deal. You have to admire that tenacity.

Tuan (pronounced Dun btw) was notionally the project manager but with loose cannon Syed and the unstoppable Ruth Badger selling properties like there’s no tomorrow on the team, he was always going to be done for if it came to the boardroom showdown.

At the start of the show Tuan was saying how he would need to push himself forward in this task to demonstrate he wasn’t just a backroom planner. Tragically, it looked as though Tuan had been welded to the office photocopier.

The one occasion on screen where he did show clients around a flat, his evident disdain for the process was astonishing. At least that’s what I thought at first. Looking back at it he appears to be frightened of the admittedly daunting task of closing a sale.

He masked his lack of confidence by being casual to the point of couldn’t-care-less. So much for Tuan’s patented non-aggressive sales technique. Result? No sale and ultimately no more Tuan as Sir Alan put him in the shredder and tore him into little strips.

This week Syed came as close as he’s ever done to getting the sack. It can’t be long now surely? Perhaps Sir Alan is only keeping Syed on so that the final run-off between Ruth Badger and the too-cocky Paul Tulip will be a nail-biter. We’re backing the Badger here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

Now Hear This

The Reith Lectures are proving to be essential listening this year…

"The first thing we notice about sound of course is that it doesn't live in this world. Whatever concert took place in this hall earlier today or yesterday, the sounds have evaporated, they are ephemeral. So although sound is a very physical phenomenon, it has some inexplicable metaphysical hidden power. The physical aspect that we notice first is that sound does not exist by itself, but has a permanent constant and unavoidable relation with silence. And therefore the music does not start from the first note and goes onto the second note, etc., etc., but the first note already determines the music itself, because it comes out of the silence that precedes it."

Daniel Barenboim
Lecture 1: In the Beginning was Sound

"Accessibility does not come through populism, accessibility comes through more interest and more knowledge, and not telling people don't worry you'll be all right, just sit there, buy your ticket, sit there, shut your ears, and you will think of something. That is in fact what we are telling them. And this is criminal. And this is something which has bothered me more and more and more over the years. Music in itself has nothing to do with a society that in a way rejects what I would call publicly accepted standards of life, and of intelligence, and of human existence, and takes the easy way out with a kind of political correctness which does only a few things, all of them in my view negative."

Daniel Barenboim
Lecture 2: The Neglected Sense

Here’s a short review of an exquisite album Bellow Poetry by Maria Kalaniemi

Krimson News have put part two of their new podcast service up for download. You can hear Steve Turnidge talking about Weedshare as a means of music distribution.

I was working on the DGMLive site and pulled the big lever with the ornate brass handle to make a concert – Robert Fripp, February 21, 2006 - go live. Within about five minutes of the concert going onto the front end of the site, I noticed that there were a bunch of folks downloading it. Now that's what I call music distribution!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Back Home

The train journey from Birmingham back to Whitley Bay was nice and quiet. Essentially Debbie and I immersed ourselves in our respective books. Earlier in the week I’d finished Moon Dust and now ploughed through Ian McEwan’s Saturday.

Sometimes I’m deep in empathy with the thoughts and feelings of the characters then in an instant wish that the middle-class whingers would just piss off. I’m certain this was not McEwan’s aim. Though I’m on the edge of tossing it carelessly to one side I resolve to carry on and hope it either improves or I acclimatise to very distant charm of this particular crop of the bourgeoisie.

Back home, our houseguests are already ensconced and Debbie and I get busy cooking a meal for eight. I take a break to watch the new Dr. Who series. All of the seeds of this programme’s potential destruction are contained in this episode. I only hope they don’t sprout in the weeks to come. They can ensure this doesn’t happen by laying off the in-jokes and self-referential stuff that plagued Tom Baker’s last couple of years through to its deserved demise back in…whenever it was.

Elsewhere, I've updated the blog for the last week to include some photographs and extra commentary of our time in Shaldon.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Sound Of Silence (almost)

Birmingham

A relaxed and comfortable journey back from Shaldon. We really didn’t want to leave this morning. The weather was glorious and sang to us to stay but we’ve got to go.

Whilst out in Teignmouth yesterday this item caught Neil's eye.

Inside the shop, whilst Neil attempted to bargain with the owner to drop the £400 price tag, this lo-fi item caught my eye. It's the exact model we used to have when I was a kid.

On this machine I recall playing the very first album I ever bought myself, Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band circa 1968. The last thing it probably played was No Pussyfooting - we used it to play side one of the album at 16 rpm which gave it the sonic consistency of warm tar.

I’ve not heard any music at all this week. The radio has been firmly welded to Radio 4 and we didn’t take a CD player with us. I’ve enjoyed the break immensely.

N&H have houseguests arriving tomorrow and when we get back to Whitley Bay our houseguests will have already arrived having been greeted by a dutiful Sam and Alys. Needless to say it’s likely that in our absence they’ve reduced the house to rubble and are, as I type, gluing brick back to brick in an attempt to get things ship-shape.

A last walk along the beach

Heading north tomorrow

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wandering & Wondering

Teignmouth

The joy of being away from home is the sense of liberation, giving oneself permission to do things you wouldn’t normally do. For me this has meant languishing in bed reading books until 9.00 a.m.

When compared to the usual routines of getting kids up, meals prepared, housework, shopping and all of the stuff that makes up the everyday, staying in bed with a book feels ludicrously decadent. Even more so for Debbie who always has her engine running.

I know for some people a holiday is not worthy of the name unless they are teetering on some rope ladder between rarely touched peaks, or sampling the curd scooped from the underside of a witchetty grub.

For me just wandering around, gazing at buildings, having a pootle about inside and stopping frequently for cake breaks is the ideal.

After sampling a couple of bookshops in Exeter (I picked up Orwell’s Homage To Catalonia and Beevor’s Berlin) we went to the Phoenix Art Centre and sampled some paintings and a nice cup of Earl Grey tea and read the newly bought booty. An afternoon slowly moving, thoughts clarifying, discussions between Debbie and I about life the universe and everything.

Earlier in the day she received a text from a friend who is currently going through a profound crisis. “What am I going to do with my life?” it read. We ponder a variety of possible answers to such an open question. My sense in this particular case is that if you have to ask the question then you’re certainly not going to like the answer.

After the cramped confines of the bus to Exeter we took the train back to Teignmouth and then the ferry across the water to Shaldon, which we enjoyed immensely; a very relaxed and dignified way of travelling.


The house on the hill


homeward bound


The evening was spent with N&H cooking and chatting until 9.00 pm when we turned on the TV and watched The Apprentice. How Syed dodged Sir Alan’s bullet this time I’ll never know. Maybe the rebel streak in Sugar identified with Syed’s flagrant ignoring of the rules of this particular task. Maybe Sir Alan thought that Syed had the minerals after all when he stood up for himself in the boardroom.

Whatever it as instead of Syed, it was Sharon who took the hit. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad decision after all – at least we don’t have to put up with Sharon’s uber-sulk flouncing anymore.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This Is The Modern World

Exeter
Today we’ve flown the nest and taken the bus to Exeter – an hour or so of cramped conditions into which people are packed like the proverbial sardine as miles of scenic countryside and water goes rolling by.

The first thing that struck me about Exeter is how dull and lacking in character the streets are. I daresay there’s much to be found up and down the little alleys that worm their way from the main body of the city but if there is, it remains elusive.

Debbie and I are content to wander around and settle in a coffee house to indulge her passion for the bean whilst I abstain.

Finally we chance across some buildings which weren’t erected post-war and are thus free of the utilitarian design ethic which is the mark of much of this kind of, ahem, modern architecture.
Poet and chum Rupert Loydell tells me that this state of affairs is not as I had thought the result of a grim collaboration between the Luftwaffe and the civic planners but is down to the city fathers alone.

Exeter cathedral provides some blessed relief from the relentless modernity and we spend an hour or so mooching up and down taking in other times.

A room with a view


the house sound system


And so to the bookshops.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Still Looking Good

Shaldon
The rain clouds that followed us all the way from Birmingham magically deserted us as we dropped down from the moors to get closer to the Ness estuary. Then it was late afternoon summer sunshine – a promising augury of the week ahead we hope.

After getting unpacked and settled into the Manor House, Debbie and I headed out to have a wander around. It didn’t take too long for us to find ourselves sitting in The Shaldon Coffee Rush, where Debbie had a latte and I quaffed a white hot chocolate. I was impressed with the reading material that was lying around – Bass magazine. I leafed through a few pages and there was a picture of bassist Steve Lawson and his article on using chords. Well it struck a chord with me of the “isn’t it a small world” variety.

As we ambled up the street a tiny voice followed saying "Excuse me." We turned and a profoundly embarrassed assitant from The Rush quietly mentioned that we had forgotten to pay. Red faced we returned and coughed up.

Later with N&H we dropped into the local pub for a pint of something called Doom Bar bitter which was rather nice. So nice we didn’t have one but two pints of the stuff in the beer garden.

I think the last time I was in a pub drinking beer was back in December in Notting Hill Gate with the Kimberman although on the whole I think this one has the better view.


The really good thing about this place is that from pub to the Manor House (our base camp for the week) there's not too far to go.


Then back home, food and reading, tea and talking. Bliss.


Monday, April 10, 2006

The Week Looks Good On Paper

Birmingham

Debbie and I took a very leisurely journey from Whitley Bay to Newcastle’s Central Station. Debbie has such a spring in her step because it’s the school holidays. Her laughter borders on being a maniacal cackle when she utters the phrase “two weeks off!”

The train journey to Birmingham gives me an excuse to buy two books – Moon Dust by Andrew Smith and Saturday by Ian McEwan. The Gemini and Apollo programmes were something I followed as a kid. We seemed to be on the cusp of the future and the moonbase as depicted in Kubrick’s 2001 looked to be right on schedule.

Then the future got cancelled and we now live in an age where soon the 9 remaining men who have left this planet and walked upon another world will be a memory. Back in Whitley Bay Alys doesn’t believe the moon landings ever happened!

At Neil and Halina’s house we were served a fantastic meal and wonderful wine. We were joined by their son Matt who is at the University of East Anglia where he is studying creative writing. I turned green with envy when he told me one of his lecturers is none other than Iain Sinclair. Matt is also avidly reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, which as long-term readers will know is my all-time favourite book. So we had lots to talk about.

We were given the guided tour of Neil and Halina’s new attic extension which gives them plenty of space for books and stuff

Lots of light

and a great view of their long garden

Tomorrow we hit the road and head south to Devon.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Blue Viewed







All the photographs today were taken by Tom (apart from the one with his back in it of course).

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?

06.45

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.

07.15
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.

07.30

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.

07.40

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!

07.45.

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

08.15

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.

08.40

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.

09.00

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

09.30

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.


10.00

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.

11.20

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!”

11.45

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

12.30

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."

16.30

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.

17.05

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?

17.30

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.

18.30

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?

19.40

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!

21.57

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

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