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The Versatile Blogger Award…

imageI’m very pleased to announce that I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Annette’s place.

After accepting two others fairly recently, I’m very flattered that so many other bloggers think I am worthy of recognition and, despite the generic nature of these awards, I think it’s only polite that I should mark the occasion in some way.
As those of you who have followed this nonsense for any length of time will know, I generally like to add my own twist to the standard nomination format, so despite the fact that there are rules for this award, I’ve decided to go in different direction.

[I’m also fully aware that some blogs are “award free” and do not accept such things, which is why I shall leave it up to the individual bloggers to participate in the nomination or not, depending on their preference. After all, the aim of these awards is to make people aware of new talent that they would otherwise have missed, so consider this a list of recommendations; if the recipients of the nominations choose to pay them forward, so much the better.]

To assist me in this, I have once more engaged the services of the Diary of an Internet Nobody‘s official awards mascot…

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…to add some all-important, randomly retro musical accompaniment to the process, which will be determined by the letters of the word, VERSATILE.

So, let us begin with;

V is for Video: photography, documentaries, music and video come together in a multimedia celebration of all things African, over at Juju films...

…making the first of our tunes fairly self-explanatory.

E is for Exposure: the chance for experience and exposure in an online magazine is what’s being offered to new writers by KG Bethlehem

…and Bethlehem is in the holy land, which takes us here.

R is for Restaurants: this is a popular topic that Suzie speaks about on her blog…

…and her namesake is the subject of this, the extended live version of an American rock classic.

S is for Sometimes Sexy, Sometimes Surreal: you never know what you’re going to get from the cutting edge arts, video and photography showcased on d|gI+Al hEGeM0n (digital hegemon)

…but I think they would approve of this post-punk anthem.

A is for Art: you’ll find countless examples of vibrantly coloured graphic design on Dully Pepper24H

…leading us to these equally vibrant and colourful gentlemen.

T is for Thoughtful: the sort of socially and politically themed article you will find on the blog curated by The militant negro

…and there aren’t too many tunes that link to a title like that, which means I get to play you a demo.

I is for Images: like the stunning photography you will discover if you visit Doru’s blog, Vultureşti

…which, in translation, probably bears no resemblance to this modern rock supergroup, but that’s never stopped the Tenuous Lynx before.

L is for Literacy and Little people: the twin specialties of Linda at A writer’s playground, where you will find games, activities and songs “for kids and those young at heart”…

…giving me a great excuse to play this.

E is for Eye: let Mark and Marco be your tour guides, with their beautifully captured travel and street photography, complied on their Barcelona-based blog, Transient eye

…allowing me to finish with an epic live performance by one of my favourite bands.

Thanks again to Annette for the award.
When you’ve checked out the links here, please head on over to her blog and see who else she nominated.

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The last rock ‘n’ roller…

I’ve been a huge fan of music for 40 years and over that time I have discovered a great many bands and artists who have stayed with me, such was the impression they made on me when I first heard them.

And when one of those cornerstones of my personal music heritage passes away, it always seems right that I should pay my respects somehow, even when the subject of any such tribute would almost certainly scoff at it for being over-sentimental nostalgic bollocks.

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Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, 24/12/45 – 28/12/15.

My taste in music has always been eclectic, purely because (with the exception of embarrassing childhood purchases like The Bay City Rollers and Showaddywaddy) I have continued to listen to everything I have ever bought, so I’d never seen any contradiction in being a Pink Floyd fan who loved  Kraftwerk, or a Rush devotee who was also massively into New Order, although the tribal subdivisions of youth sometimes caused some friction, of the “you-can’t-be-a-headbanger-and-like-Gary Numan-too” variety.

All of which I ignored.

I didn’t want to be in their gang anyway. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

But then one band, one voice, one thunderous, gloriously over-the-top wall of noise arrived and for a while it was all that I listened to with my small group of junior metal-head school friends.

Even in an era where metal, punk and new wave were all still popular in the record shops and on the chart rundown every Sunday, this astonishing sonic assault was nothing like we had ever heard before and Motörhead soon became the very epitome of “heavy” rock.

And this particular blistering album by them was rarely off the turntables and tape decks of our teenage bedrooms at the time.

The band’s frontman, Lemmy, is credited with being everything from “the godfather of grunge” to “the hardest working man in rock” and was once described as having a voice “like a man who gargles with hot gravel”, but however the media portray him he has only ever described Motörhead as a rock ‘n’ roll band and has repeatedly corrected journalists who labelled them as “Heavy Metal”.

Lemmy did, after all, first find success in another of my all time favourite bands, Hawkwind, the stoner space rock collective who would eventually sack him for reliability issues brought on by his already herculean intake of amphetamines, resulting in his subsequent speed-related arrest on the Canadian border whilst on tour with them in the late ’70s.

Here he is playing with his trademark thundering bass style on perennial Hawks crowd pleaser, Silver Machine…

Undeterred, Lemmy formed Motörhead a few years later and has been fronting the rotating line-up ever since; their style never changing from the original frantic, bass strumming, drum galloping, speed soloing, throat shredding, grimy rock bulldozer that finally found them international fame with the archetypal Lemmy tune, Ace of Spades.

Seemingly indestructible for the last three decades or more, Lemmy Kilmister died today, only a short time after being diagnosed with cancer.

It’ll be a long time until someone who so perfectly embodies the term “rock ‘n’ roller” comes along again and the world will be a less entertaining place for his passing.

Killed By Death, indeed.

Like I said, he wouldn’t have given a toss about any fawning retrospectives on his contribution to music, so I’ll leave you with the best possible tribute to one of the world’s last real monsters of rock; the man in his own words.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lemmy: The Movie, enjoy.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Arts, Music, Personal anecdote, Video

 

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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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Now that’s what I call an ’80s flashback – Volume one…

“If you remember the sixties, then you weren’t there” was a common saying when I was growing up and nonsensical as it may be grammatically speaking, it effectively conveys the mystique of a decade to those of us who actually weren’t there, but who were nevertheless born there, so to speak.

But nobody says things like that about the years I spent my childhood in, the ’70s.
We had prog rock, punk, disco and glam, but we also had strikes, the National Front, the IRA, the three day week and Thatcher, which can mean that despite much evidence to the contrary, the musically schizophrenic decade that gave us the Sex Pistols, Rush, Chic, Kraftwerk and David Bowie is sometimes seen as a bit drab, miserable and depressing, like a combined hangover/detox after ten years of psychedelia, free love and liberal drug laws, a kind of temporal anteroom in which we all waited for the gleaming technological paradise of the eighties to arrive in a flying car with a robot chauffeur.

So when the ’80s finally arrived, complete with strikes, the National Front, the IRA, riots, Thatcher and the Falklands war, it was music that we turned to once again for inspiration and escape.
And now we were living in the future we wanted something new and futuristic to act as an antidote to the emerging culture of unstoppable greed and consumerism, a sound that echoed the homemade ethos of punk but brought some order and technical precision into the equation.
A sound made possible by the increased availability of affordable electronic instruments, something that would lead to the first real musical revolution since the invention of the lead guitar.

Now you might think that to be an outrageous exaggeration, especially if you’re an old-school folkie who booed when Dylan went electric or someone who, when you hear the term “keyboard solo”, immediately thinks of Richard Clayderman, but electronics have been stealthily allowing innovative musicians to create new and interesting sounds as far back as the mid-sixties, when Dr Robert Moog produced the first practical analogue synthesizer.

      *****Here is an example for your listening pleasure.*****
(free music download, “Moogalicious by Dogsounds, click to save)

I was 14 as the eighties arrived, already obsessed with music and at that point, a metal and prog rock enthusiast, but also greedily absorbing the eclectic mix of genres and styles played by one of my musical heroes, the late, very great John Peel.
I still recall the covert thrill of listening to the late night radio show of this gruff yet affable, funny and comically disorganised bloke, playing anything from dub reggae and thrash metal to ambient electronica and hardcore German techno.

Hidden beneath the duvet, the earpiece of my radio-cassette player firmly in place, was the first place I heard this next song.
I remember thinking what a precise, clean sound it had (while my inner headbanger shouted at me for being a poncey new romantic) and I reckon I could say with some confidence that this was probably about the time I had to concede that I rather liked synth-pop…

…and I can also remember going into the tiny record shop in Crowborough – Revolver Records, now long defunct – to buy the debut OMD album, the first LP I’d bought that didn’t have at least three guitars on it, and discovering the other side of the strange world of synth-pop that wasn’t all radio friendly singles and twinkly keyboard flourishes.
To my pleasant surprise, I found that this shiny new type of music could be just as dark, deep and peculiar as any progressive rock epic concept album.
Pop music had just got credible.

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A selection of my ’80s vinyl, this afternoon.

I can certainly say that my old friend (then a new friend) Ho was a big part in getting me into the wider world of electronic music.
Ho, already a Gary Numan, Tangerine Dream and Can fan, played me albums I never would have heard among my long-haired, denim-clad mates. (with the possible exception of Tangerine Dream, the electronic band it was ok for prog fans to like)
He also introduced me to one of my all-time favourite bands, Kraftwerk.
Not only did I go out and buy the German electro-boffins’ sporadically-released ’80s output, (Computer World, Electric Café) after hearing their back catalogue, from the long haired, proggy, avant-garde jazz experimentation of the early seventies, through to the sublime period of the Radioactivity and Man Machine albums which brought them to the attention of a wider audience, I went out and bought almost everything they recorded.

Another artist that went on to inform my taste for the glacial sounding electronic music that came to be synonymous with the eighties and beyond was John Foxx, particularly his album Metamatic, which I and some friends who were similarly attracted to this new genre (especially when combined with various recreational stimulants) came to describe as “clinical music”.

There is admittedly a certain amount of rose tinted musical hindsight involved in these reminiscences, as for every Speak and Spell classic there was a Stock, Aitken and Waterman clone waiting in the wings, so the eighties detractors have plenty of ammunition to refute the musical importance of The Decade That Fashion Forgot.

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What with the endless power ballads, glossy U.S.stadium rock and cheesy manufactured chart pop fodder infesting the radio airwaves, the edgy, harsh tones of the new technology came as a breath of fresh air, albeit air fresh from dingy bedsits and basement studios where the new New Wave was starting to break.

As the new music began to gain credibility and appear alongside established artists on shows like Top of the Pops, the electronic bands started to develop a more polished sound and glamorous image, something that would help them take advantage of the increasing popularity of music videos.
Not always a good thing in my not-very-humble opinion, because a lot of what made these bands so different to start with was lost as they strove to be accepted into the mainstream.

Compare the two examples below, one from The Human League and the other from Gary Numan.
The earlier material of both is harder, more abrasive, while only a short time later the image makeover has smoothed off the bright corners and dulled the sharp edges.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of both artists, both early and late material, as I am of all the music here, and they are both still going strong too.
The Human League released a brand new album, Credo, in 2011 and the former Gary Webb hasn’t stopped producing music since he began with Tubeway Army in the late seventies.

Interestingly, Phil Oakey and the Human League have stuck more or less to their high-gloss, late career peak musical style, while Numan has continued to evolve, including drum ‘n’ bass, industrial and techno into the mix over the years, without ever losing that certain something that makes it still very much Numanoid.

The Human League

…and today; It wasn’t broke so they didn’t fix it.

Gary Numan

…and today; The old darkness and edge are still very much in evidence, possibly a result of his recent association with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails

I added “volume one” to the title of this post automatically because I knew that once I started on this subject it was likely to turn into a labour of love.
So I shan’t try and cram anything else in now, but you can be sure that as soon as I hit the “publish” button I will be resuming my search for echoes of that Golden Hour of the Future we lived in for a few short, groundbreaking years.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sixth (non)Sense…

Nearly halfway through my serendipitously synchronized sequence of specialist subjects now, and today is particularly musical in tone, with a splash of comedy and an aptly convoluted movie to finish off.

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The mighty Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa brought yesterday’s torrid trail to the end of its tether, so that is where we shall set off from today.

All aboard?
Right, let’s ramble.

Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa uses words from the phonetic alphabet in it’s title, as does Wilco’s 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (apparently a reference to a recording of a secret spy network transmission).
Wilco Johnson was a member of legendary ’70s pub rock/punk/blues band, Dr Feelgood.
Dr Feelgood had a hit with Milk and Alcohol, co-written by Nick Lowe. The song is about Lowe overdoing it on Kahlúa milkshakes at a ’70s gig by blues legend John Lee Hooker.
Nick Lowe was in Rockpile, who had a hit with Crawling From The Wreckage.
This Wreckage was a hit for Gary Numan, whose real name is Gary Webb.
Robert Webb is in comedy duo Mitchell and Webb with David Mitchell.

But it’s a completely different David Mitchell who is responsible for today’s movie highlight.
Taken from Mitchell’s novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas is easily the most extraordinary looking film I’ve seen this year, if not the most coherent or comprehensible.

Tune in tomorrow for more links from the Lynx.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Arts, Films, Humour, Music, Tenuous Lynx, TV

 

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