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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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Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 1…

image Welcome, one and all, to the first installment of this new archival plundering of my music collection, this time via the little plastic cases of wonder/frustration we folks from the olden days knew as cassettes, or simply “tapes”.

Melodic Randomiser Unspooled will follow the same pattern as the CD version; I shall occasionally dip into my vintage cassette library, progressing through the various boxes of pre- and  home-recorded albums and compilations, posting videos and links to whatever random example of magnetically preserved masterpiece takes my fancy from each trio of tapes.

Since the same principal of chaotic disorganization that ruled my CD racks has been applied to storing my tapes, you never know what sort of strange brew you’ll end up with, with today’s first mixtape being a fine example.

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The Steve Miller band had several pretty big hits, one of them briefly resurrecting Steve’s career, by way of its use in a jeans commercial, although the  track I’ve chosen today isn’t one of his most memorable songs.
This is probably due to the fact that it comes from the 1984 release, Italian X-rays, a bad enough name for an album as it is, without adding insult to injury by swamping any remaining musical credibility with horrible cheesy ’80s synth lines.

I thought I’d go the whole hog and play the one track that’s completely synth-based. I mean, when you’re dealing with cheese, there’s no point in going for half measures is there?

Here’s Bongo Bongo, terrible eighties animated video and all.

Next up, a mixtape in itself, one made for me by a friend, (that noble, pre-internet tradition of music sharing; Hello and thank you, Nick) kicking off with Side One, Various Artists and the first of two tracks, Richard Warren‘s multi-genre project, Echoboy and a song called Kit And Holly

…followed by another man whose style is impossible to pigeonhole, Johnny Dowd and the fabulous Monkey Run.

Side two has a definite theme, beginning with a few songs from Talking Heads Fear Of Music album and I’ve chosen this characteristically spiky offering, Paper

…segueing nicely into a couple of solo David Byrne songs, my favourite of which is this joyously percussive slice of eccentrica, Look Into The Eyeball.

So far, so varied, but tape number three ups the eclecticism ante somewhat, containing as it does a radio recording from ten years ago.
BBC Radio’s One’s “Peel Day” was a celebration of the life and work of veteran DJ, champion of unsigned bands and national treasure, John Peel, who tragically died one year earlier.
The live, all night broadcast featured interviews, live performances and archive sessions by bands and artists who had been mentored by John, had appeared on the show, or were simply inspired to make music by listening to his legendary late night transmissions, from both the BBC and the studio at his family’s home, “Peel Acres”.

The first track that came on when I pressed play (sacrilegiously, the tape hadn’t been rewound!) was instantly recognisable as one of the so called “world music” artists to get regular airplay on John’s show, Kanda Bongo Man.
Listening to Peel was what introduced me to the frenetic rhythms of African music, especially the sort of lively guitar sounds associated with music from Soweto and the Belgian Congo (now called Zaire).
This song from the Congolese superstar reminds me of that thrill of new musical discovery, all those years ago.

This is Sai.

Then, in typical Peel fashion, I was treated to this historic live session recording of Whole Lotta Love by rock’s Golden Gods, Led Zeppelin, from way back in 1969.

Side two of the last in my opening salvo of jukebox tom-spoolery begins with something that, again, couldn’t be more different, a live performance from hardcore electronic experimentalist, Kid 606 and from that set I’ve chosen this, the original video for The Illness.

Which only leaves us with the final song they played in tribute to one of radio’s greatest exponents of new music, the song of which John Peel once said;

“If they ever do a tribute show for me when I die, this’ll be the last song they play.”

A fitting end then, to the inaugural post of the Melodic Randomiser‘s return; ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Roy Harper and When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease.

Thank you for listening.

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Melodic Randomiser: Day nine…

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A happy new year to you all, regular readers and new followers alike.

Today has been a lazy day, festivity fatigue setting in and no urge to do anything other than slob around listening to music, so I have a full selection of randomness to divert your attention from the resolutions that you’re already regretting.
So before you go for a run, finish that DIY you’ve been promising to get done, or begin your new healthy juice diet, sit back and listen to a few tunes.

First CD this morning was Orbital with the imaginatively-titled “Blue Album”, a slightly more down-tempo offering than some of their output and therefore a good one to wake up to…

…after which there was a quick burst of shoegazing, with an EP by Emetrex called The Birds Your Brothers, found in a local independent record shop’s sale rack.

Next up, a project that my cousin was involved with, Two Lone Swordsmen and their “…from the Double Gone Chapel” CD, a sleazy, dark throb of an album featuring some of his great drum work.
Here’s a taste –

It would be hard to come up with a more striking juxtaposition to that than Tina Weymouth and her band, Tom Tom Club (joyful 1981 offshoot of Talking Heads, with whom she plays bass)

…although the segue from that to today’s final choice was equally unlikely, “Mothership”, the greatest hits collection from heavy metal gods, Led Zeppelin.

And if you can’t find something to float your musical boat amongst that lot, then I shall just have to try harder.

Enjoy the start of 2015, I have a feeling you haven’t seen the last of my CD randomiser…

 
 

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Double century musical rewind…

I was pleased and somewhat amazed to note that my last article was the 200th post on Diary of an Internet Nobody, a milestone that, back in June 2012 would have seemed like an unreachable goal.
Back then the only thing I was sure of was that there would be no theme to the blog, and that the one thing it wouldn’t be was an excuse for me to rant evangelically about all the music I’d been listening to.

Well, since then I’ve blogged about everything from faith to photography, Easter to etymology and movie mash-ups to magic mushrooms, but even with that wide range of topics, music has never been far away.
No matter if it was shoehorning a tune into a post with the intention of illustrating a point, embedding video clips of bands playing at festivals we attended, or simply cramming as many songs as possible into a  tenuously linked, stream of consciousness daisy chain, just for the hell of it, I don’t seem to be able to resist dropping a musical reference in there somewhere.

As I’d given in to temptation a couple of weeks ago and devoted two whole posts to the glorious days of ’80s synth-pop, and never having been one to pass up the chance to promote talented artists I admire, I thought I’d take the opportunity afforded by my double century of blog posts to look back at some of the musically inclined folks I’ve met since opening the door onto the Great Big Internet just a few short years ago.

Even as I began writing this post it occurred to me that I’ve been lucky enough to meet, or be introduced to, a great many gifted musicians through the magic of cyberspace.
Whether it was via friends I already knew, fellow bloggers, or new acquaintances I made on Facebook, there’s no shortage of talent out there just waiting to be discovered.
So today I’d like to present my very own showcase of audio-visual highlights from my time spent trawling the ether, for your delectation and enjoyment.

Roughnecks.

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One of the many local bands that we are fortunate enough to have around North Devon are these hard rocking, heavy riffing dudes who play classic rock, blues and prog covers. Fronted by a work colleague of mine, Richard Woods, the unusual twist is that not only does he belt out an very creditable Robert Plant impression, he also plays bass and theremin, (strange, spacey electronic gizmo, played by passing one’s hand through the instrument’s invisible magnetic field) allowing for some other-worldly effects on songs by gig favourites, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

In this suitably psychedelic clip they take on Led Zep’s You Shook Me.

Duncan Virgoe.

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An old friend of mine and consummate singer/songwriter/musician (plus a couple of roles in successful stage musicals) Duncan has featured previously on the blog as the subject of a video experiment we made to accompany one of his own compositions. Since he has made a new, improved version of the video, I thought I’d remind you of the song, the deeply funky He Come To Pass.

Katy Virgoe.

Music clearly flows in the veins of the Virgoe family, as Duncan’s teenage daughter Katy shows in this clip of her performing her own song, Please Don’t Cry.

Jono Harrison.

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Almost as though I was back in Tenuous Lynx mode, the chain of connections goes on, as my next clip is from Jonathan “Jono” Harrison, compatriot of Duncan from their touring band The Freaking Musos and rising star in his own right.
A singer/songwriter who has in recent months toured with big names such as The Cutting Crew and 10cc, I first met Jono when he came down with Duncan to play some busman’s holiday gigs at pubs on the North Devon coast a few years ago.

Here he is with one of his own songs, Josephine Waits.

…and the daisy chain continues with the multi-talented drummer from that same touring band, Joe Caple.
Under his pseudonym of Caveman Genius, Joe works as musician, producer and owner of Paper Bones records in Brighton.
In the first of two clips, here’s a video made by FishBoy for the Caveman Genius track, Jim.

…and from one of Joe’s other projects, indie band Wild Cat Strike,  another FishBoy video for Buried at Sea.

Continuing the Brighton theme, here’s a treat for any lovers of British hip-hop, the more-street-than-I’ll-ever-hope-to-be, mischievous stoner rap of Benaddict on Yogocop records with Anomeric.

….and the equally weed-stoked Rain

After all that herbal high-jinx, how about going Up on Acid Mountain with the fabulously twangy sound of my friend Banjo Dai, a man who really knows how to pick those strings…

LISTEN HERE

…as does one of my acquaintances from across the pond, Mike Mando. Here he is with the band he plays in, S.P.I.N. (Soul Patch Is Neat)

…and for those of you that appreciate something a little more experimental and electronic, how about the trance-like soundscapes of a Gareth Farmer aka Carbonates on Mars.

CHECK OUT “CYBERVILLE” HERE.

But if you want something a bit grimier, sample a taste of The Dark Lord of Dance himself, the enigmatic, reclusive and currently dormant Ludwig Hiscariot.

Here is his take on Danny Elfman’s theme to Beetlejuice

…along with an original piece, Candle Dance, which he was good enough to compose for one of my early experiments in stop-motion animation.

Finally, here’s a link to a friend and ex-workmate (and shoo in for the next Dr Who) Steve “the Dr” Conway, veteran of many bands and still finding time for composing and playing solo music, despite his fancy new job at our local college.

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There’s a link to a fine selection of his songs below, please take a listen to those and all the other artists’ material, because supporting up and coming, local and underground talent like this can only help ensure our rich musical heritage stays alive and vibrant for the enjoyment of generations of music fans to come.

STEVE CONWAY’S REVERBNATION PAGE.

Thanks for listening, hope you found something to interest, excite, or intrigue you.

{Additional artist photos courtesy of Duncan Virgoe, Jono Harrison and Steve Conway}

 

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Ramble on (and on)…

You may as well have something to listen to, this may take a while…

Sometimes you get a great idea for a post that you just have to write.

Sometimes you flounder around seeking inspiration, until your synaptic fishing expedition snags upon a juicy morsel of cerebral flotsam.

And sometimes you just want to blether on about nothing in particular, just for the sake of posting a blog.

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Now, I’m aware that I have made a similar assertion in a recent post, but that ended up falling into the second category, that of a Flash Of Inspiration.

This is more of a Category Three post.

It may not come as a total shock to you that I tend to lean toward the verbose end of the social spectrum, especially when I’ve got a couple of ciders inside me, and there’s nothing I like more than striking up a conversation with a random stranger in a pub.
It’s a great way of meeting new people.

I mean, you already know you have drinking and pubs in common, and if you get chatting in the “smoking area” then you also share the increasingly exclusive status of social pariah into the bargain.

Well, I recently reconnected with a friend that Elaine and i first met when we moved to Devon, purely by bumping into him when I snuck into a local pub for a cheeky pint just a few weeks ago.

Whilst sitting out on the terrace, drinking, smoking, and catching up in the unexpected sunshine of early English summer, I happened to mention that we were going to the upcoming Chagstock Festival, and within two minutes was embroiled in an animated conversation with a twinkly-eyed, tanned, fifty-something Welsh banjo player named Dai who is known as Banjo Dai. (As opposed to the more obvious Dai the Banjo)

It turned out that this affable and equally verbose chap, (he later claimed that I was “the only person I’ve met who’s as annoying as me”) and his wife were staying in the flat above the pub, having come to Devon for his work as a professional gardener.

After chatting about music for a while, and having established many common points of reference on the musical map, we retired to the flat so I could listen to some of his work.

As I have previously stated, I have no personal musicianship skills whatsoever, but even I can appreciate beautiful musical instruments when I see them, so I knew I was in for a treat when I was greeted by this sight as I entered the flat..

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Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed, and you too can avoid disappointment by experiencing some of Dai’s excellent music RIGHT HERE.

Apart from meeting interesting new people, it’s always good to find out that folks you already know have been involved in newsworthy events since you last ran into them, and pubs are without doubt the best place to catch up with such gossip, and it seems as though we had missed out on the details of a particularly fine story that had graced the pages of the local press a couple of years ago.

Another character that we met not long after moving to the West Country is a bloke Elaine christened “Sweary Terry” due to his constant use of rather over-colourful language.
He was never shy about getting stuck into to a punch-up either.

Anyway, back in 2011 Terry got involved in a “neighbourhood dispute”, the details of which I’m not entirely clear on, which resulted in him being visited by four local ruffians intent on teaching him the error of his ways.

They made the elementary mistake however, of attempting to cross the drawbridge of the proverbial Englishman’s Castle, entering Terry’s home against his express wishes (expressed in fairly inventive terms I’m sure) and advancing into his inner sanctum.

Not having a traditional English siege weapon to hand, he went for the alternative that was most immediately available to him, the razor sharp Japanese Katana mounted on his living room wall, and brandished it in a suitably threatening manner with the hope of discouraging the interlopers.

Not being overburdened with intelligence, the lead goon proceeded to show just how tough he was by grabbing the business end of the samurai sword and favoring our hero with a “so what are you going to do now then?” expression, gripping the blade tightly in his fist

Well, what Terry did do now was smartly yank the sword back towards him.

It was what he said next though, that made this a typical Terry story;
“Now, pick up your fingers and get the fuck out of my house”

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A Katana. Fingers not included.

It should be noted that in court earlier this year Terry was found not guilty of assault on the grounds of using reasonable force to defend his home against unlawful invasion (..or something. I’m not a lawyer, and this was a pub conversation remember) and the digitally challenged protagonist had his extremities successfully reattached.

And in case Welsh banjo players and samurai sword-wielding amateur surgeons aren’t random enough to share a post, I’ve also had my second experience this year of customer service above and beyond the norm, again with technical assistance concerning my phone.

This time it was help with a video editing application which has allowed me to do things like this in the past..

…but to which I no longer have access due to incompatibility issues with my phone’s upgraded operating system.

Having tried out various different apps (so many of these things have malicious adware embedded in them, and others simply do not do what they’re supposed to) I managed to find one that most closely resembled the old editor I’d used before.

Unfortunately, when I tested the new version I found a couple of slight glitches in it, and having paid the princely sum of about £2 for the app I felt fully justified in e-mailing the developer to see if they could help.

Not only did I get an almost instant response from an extremely helpful chap called Eli, but he has also spent the intervening three days attempting to work some techie magic on the old version of the app or find me suitable alternatives. In all we exchanged nearly fifty e-mails, surely better after sales service than you’d expect for a two quid purchase anywhere else.

As a result, I now have a couple of other useful editing tools I wouldn’t otherwise have found, and the option to try out some newly developed operating software.

If you’re an Android user and have any technical issues, you could do a lot worse than checking out Eli on the AndroidWarzone blog.

And that’s it.
Ramble completed.

 
 

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