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#atozchallenge: C is for cassette (Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 7)…

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is for cassette.

As anyone who follows this nonsense will know, I have been gradually working my way through my audio cassette collection for a while and I thought that this third edition of the A-Z challenge would be the ideal time to add a new Melodic Randomiser Unspooled post.

Today’s trio of tapes are all ’90s British classics, starting with Blur and their debut album, Leisure, here for you to enjoy in its entirety…

…followed by Black Grape, the side project of ex-Happy Mondays frontman, Shaun Ryder and their It’s Great When You’re Straight, Yeah album, from which comes this, In The Name Of The Father

…and finishing off with another Manchester band, Inspiral Carpets and possibly their greatest moment, This Is How It Feels, from the Life album.

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Two years, Pooh sticks and park life…

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY said the WordPress notification I received last week, surprising me with the realisation that Diary of an Internet Nobody has now been ranting and musing its way across the blogosphere for two whole years.

My initial reaction however – one of surprise that I’d been writing for so long, (since I only think of myself as a beginner, still getting to grips with the discipline, so to speak) – faded, as it occurred to me that writing stuff down feels so natural now, that I can’t really conceive of not always having done it.
Although you only have to read that last sentence; well look at it, hyphens, italics, parentheses, mangled tenses, commas all over the place, to see that I still have some work to do in the rambling tangent department.

Only the other day I was reading a post on Being Ron about how many bloggers change the look and feel of their blogs on a more or less regular basis, and that Ron liked to give his blog a makeover occasionally to keep it fresh.
This is something that I’d never considered before, having settled on the desk diary-themed look (because, well, it was obvious) after stumbling upon it when looking for something to replace the very dark, red-on-black theme I began with, and now I can’t bring myself to abandon it.

Do these things really matter to you, my lovely, intelligent, extremely talented and good looking readers?
Do any of you actually click on that e-mail notification, thinking; “Oh dear god, if I have to read another witty and erudite article, surrounded by that faux-leather and digital stitching, I’m going to leave a pithy comment” ?
Your feedback is, as ever welcomed and appreciated…

During my recent brief sabbatical from the blog, I visited family and friends in Sussex, where I managed to fit in; my first visit to my mum’s new house; a pleasant stay with my sister, (I was there when she received her presentation copy of Ho’s “Spacehopper incident” cartoon that he kindly sent her by post, which she will apparently frame and proudly display); a few days in the company of my old friend Trevor, and a trip to Brighton to see Ho himself.

Arriving in Crowborough on the Tuesday evening to the faultless hospitality of my sister – meal on the go, cider in the fridge – I briefly saw my niece and nephew the following morning before they were whisked off to school and then made my way out into Winnie the Pooh country, Ashdown Forest, to where Trev was staying in Hartfield.
Unfortunately this normally simple journey didn’t go quite according to plan, featuring as it did, me crashing into the back of someone’s car as they braked in the wet at a narrow bridge I’d completely forgotten existed, having not been out that way for nearly twenty years.

The gentleman whose car I damaged was very good about the accident, saying only that he “wished you’d done it a couple of months ago when I had my old car, I could have made a killing on the insurance” and when it also turned out that he worked for the company in whose building I’d shared a flat whilst living in Crowborough, well, we parted on amiable terms.

My stay with Trevor was a predictably laid back affair, involving a few visits to country pubs, tooling around the countryside in his open topped sports car and making a special nostalgic trip out onto the forest to visit A.A. Milne’s hundred acre wood, where the actual Pooh Bridge stands.
A game of Pooh sticks took place of course, in which I claimed victory, although it was a close run thing.

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Boys will be boys.

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Into Hundred Acre Wood.

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Eeyore’s house, possibly.

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Pooh Bridge.

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There was also a box of old photos to root through, yielding this gem from the turn of the millennium, when the pair of us were somewhat more hirsute.

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I took my leave of Trevor on Friday morning, suitably refreshed and relaxed, returning to Crowborough to do the familial rounds once more.
I dropped back in to see mum, then to Kerry’s for one final chat with her and Oly, (a truly top man who has the irrepressible enthusiasm of a teenager, the enviable upper body shape of a weightlifter and both legs missing below the knee. In some people I imagine this would put a bit of a crimp in their style, but to Oly it seems nothing more than an excuse for jokes about not having to worry about smelly feet and numerous amusing anecdotes concerning uncooperative prosthetics falling off at inopportune moments) before taking to the road again for the journey down to Brighton and a Friday night out with Ho.

Ho is very switched on when it comes to local events, working as he does for an entertainment promotions company, so he had already got us tickets to a gig at The Haunt, a converted cinema screening room, on the seafront near the famous Brighton Pier.

There were three bands playing, but three weeks have passed and I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten the name of one of the support acts, although I do remember Milk and Biscuits and you can sample their material HERE.

The headline act certainly were memorable though, there’s no doubt about that.
Fujiya & Miyagi put on a great show. With stuttering, glitching visuals projected behind them they provided a pounding, mesmerizing set of precision-tooled, clinical synths, enigmatic vocals (some improvised from audience suggestions) and a great live drummer.
To give you a feel for the show here are the obligatory fuzzy gig photos and a link to a particular favourite of mine, the video for Flaws.

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CLICK THE LINK TO PLAY Fujiya & Miyagi – Flaws.

So it was that, after breakfasting with Ho and saying my goodbyes, I left sunny Brighton on Saturday morning and made my way back west to Devon, arriving with only ten minutes to spare to pick up the keys to my new lodgings.
I am now located on the edge of a large park, one of my favourite parts of the town and, due to the smoking ban in the house, I have taken to strolling over the road in my slippers with a mug of coffee, to enjoy a smoke in the evening sunshine amongst the trees.
The park also provides me with free parking and the walk to the car in the early morning is equally pleasant.

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The first few weeks in my new home haven’t been without the odd minor incident however.
Earlier this week, one of my fellow housemates was “entertaining” downstairs in his room when some candles apparently set off the ear-splitting fire alarms that are fitted throughout the shared house, deafening the other residents until someone worked out how to turn it off.
Fortunately I was in my newly adopted garden across the road at the time, so I missed the aural assault, returning merely to an ominously red-lit and beeping alarm panel in the lobby and a houseful of people with headaches.

Someone not so fortunate was the bloke who was driving his brand new mini along the road, just round the corner from where I was coming out of our front door on Wednesday evening.
I heard the most horrendous CRASH, followed by the sound of constant car horns and ran round the corner to see the aforementioned mini, no driver visible, airbags deployed, stopped dead in its tracks by the small hatchback embedded in the side of it.
Now, given that this happened on a straight stretch of road in daylight, and that the driver I saw being helped out of the hatchback by the staff of a nearby hotel was a lady considerably advanced in years, I can only assume that she had failed to see the mini entirely and turned into the hotel car park as it drew level with her.

Whatever the cause of the accident, it looked quite serious and I called up to fellow resident Rebecca, who had come to her window to investigate, to call the police.
They evidently asked her to give a first hand account of proceedings, as she appeared on the street and approached the scene, staying on the phone until the first of many emergency vehicles arrived to take control of the situation.
Both drivers seemed to have escaped injury and, although a fire crew turned up to mop up the petrol on the road and untangle the ruined cars, that was the end to the evening’s excitement.

As a bonus, Rebecca managed to snap a rather dramatic-looking photo of the emergency services in action, so the credit for this one goes to her.

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That about catches me up to the present, but before I go, here are two great songs to play us out:

ONE YOU PROBABLY EXPECT…

…AND ONE YOU MAY NOT.

And I’ll leave you with this gorgeous sunset photo, taken in the park earlier this week.

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The Beatnik Alternative Quill Jig…

Have you ever had a joke or a line in your head that you just have to use somehow, no matter how contrived you need to be in order to crowbar it into conversation?
No?
Oh, ok, just me then.

Anyway…

Having met, chatted to, and got to know many more Americans online in the last couple of years than I’ve met in the whole of the previous forty five, I’ve begun to get more of an idea of what makes us so similar in some ways, and yet so different in others.

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One thing our US cousins are certainly big on is patriotism, and never more so than on 4th of July,when they wish each other Happy Independence Day.
Just by the posts on Facebook from my American friends you’d know what day it was even if you’d just woken up from a coma.

Which is nice, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t get to have a massive party to celebrate our independence from anyone in the UK (although Scotland may be able to celebrate their own soon enough, you never know) because who would we celebrate our independence from?
The Vikings?
The Romans?
The Saxons?

Besides, the 4th of July in America now appears to be more of a chance to celebrate general American-ness, as opposed to actually gloating at the memory of slinging out the English in 1776.

So I think we should have an equivalent holiday, when we revel in British cultural achievements.
Not sure about a name, but It’ll come to me later.

Music is a great tool for crossing national boundaries, even if some of the terminology varies from time to time.
For instance, the term Beatnik – derived from American writer Jack Kerouac‘s “Beat Generation” – describes a member of the subculture better known in the UK as Hippy, and although the Alternative rock scene arguably began in the US, with pioneers like The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane…

..and continues today with other bands such as Killers, Kings of Leon, and unpredictable masters of tripped out psyche-rock, The Flaming Lips,

..the UK can lay claim to spawning the Indie movement, bringing the world groups like the hugely influential Smiths…

…art school geezers, Blur,

…and even bipolar Goth barbershop-dodgers, The Cure

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Of course, this all started with a quill and a piece of paper, and we all know that the “Pen is mightier than the sword” in achieving accord between disparate peoples, a term coined by accomplished 19th century English poet, playwright, and novelist, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in his 1839 play about Cardinal Richeleu.
So maybe something that celebrates our rich literary history should be included in the festivities.

And it’s not like our friends over the pond really disapprove of us anymore is it?
Well, maybe they’re not always so keen on the English and our limey liberal ways, but don’t they just love the Irish?
At last count, over 11% of Americans – that’s 34.5 million people – claimed Irish heritage to some degree or another, and presidents from Roosevelt and Kennedy, right up to Reagan and Clinton have made a point making their celtic roots widely known.
If some Hollywood movies are to be believed, the entire NYPD is staffed by shillelagh-toting, Guinness-swilling Sons of the Emerald Isle, only ever one copy of the Irish Rover away from doing a Jig.

If there is one musical genre that’s always proven popular across the Atlantic, its the second English Invasion, that of Dance and House, (now rechristened EDM – or Electronic Dance Music – presumably because promoters gave up finding names for new sub-genres) with DJs like Fat Boy Slim and Paul Okenfold playing vast stadium venues to massive crowds.

I’m not entirely clear what any of this proves, and I’m still struggling to come up with an appropriate name for the holiday on which we could celebrate all this British cultural richness.

So for now I’ll just call it Hippy Indie Pen Dance Day.

Hmm, needs some work, but I think I might have something there…

(Right, got that out of my system, we’ll say no more about it)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Blogging, Music

 

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