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Interview: The Bee talks with dalecooper57…

​A few weeks ago I was honoured to be invited to take part in an interview with Bee Halton, as part of her The Bee talks with… feature.

Well, I’m only now getting around to answering Bee’s questions and today you can discover what information she managed to wheedle out of me.
The questions all seem quite straightforward but, given my tendency to ramble, it’s anyone’s guess how long this will take, so I’d better get on with it…

1) How would you describe yourself in one paragraph? 

This is the sort of question that makes me wonder how honest we are about ourselves, because I immediately think of the way I am described by the people who know me; loud, verbose, opinionated, arrogant, immodest, sarcastic, the (not always complimentary) list goes on… At least that was generally the case, before I began writing Diary of an Internet Nobody, but recently I’m getting dangerously used to seeing words like “creative”, “talented” and even “artistic” being applied to me. Now, although I’m more than willing to accept the praise and plaudits of my peers in the blogging community, not even I (with all those aforementioned, uncomplimentary, but probably accurate characteristics) am comfortable using those terms to describe myself, not out loud anyway. So I think I’m going to have to go with somewhere in between, something along the lines of; inventive, persistent, determined, intelligent, (or at least clever, which isn’t the same thing, but it’s a convincing impression) friendly, generous and…oh alright, immodest, sarcastic and verbose, too.

2) A fun fact about you? 

Hmm, I’m not sure what constitutes a fun fact, but I was once nearly eaten by a drunken vegetarian at a party.

3) What made you write (draw, blog, paint, make music…) in the first place?

Oh, that’s an easy one. A friend of a friend who I met on Facebook (the irritatingly talented Mr Darmon Richter, writer of the highly successful Bohemian blog) encouraged me to start blogging, after I’d helped promote his work on social media, just over four years ago. I had no idea or plan for what I was going to write, (and still don’t) except that I would have no constant theme and that I would stubbornly insist on creating all original content on the blog, using only my smartphone (both of which mission statements remain true to this day) and it seems to be working ok so far.

The fiction came about, I suppose, because I had always been an avid reader and love a well-told story. Although having said that, it had never occurred to me to even attempt writing fiction until, out of curiosity, I decided to take part in Linda G Hill’s regular feature, Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday, setting myself the challenge of writing a short story for each of her weekly prompts on the spur of the moment. 

As for all the other threads on the blog; the photography, video, animation and music, they too are a direct result of my introduction to the wonderful world of Google’s Android™ system. It’s amazing what you can do with a phone, few apps, a bit of imagination and the computing power of something you would have needed to carry around on a forklift twenty years ago. The fact that I’ve enjoyed taking pictures and have been an obsessive music fan since I was a teenager probably didn’t hurt either, but I have no actual musical knowledge or training and rely on the marvels of modern technology to make up the shortfall between my ingenuity and any genuine ability to carry a tune.


4) Which author/painter/musician… has influenced you and why? 

I’d probably say that, style-wise, I’m most influenced by the sadly late, but extremely great British writers, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, both of whom had such a palpable love of language and how it can be made to inject humour into almost any situation. I also like the way Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino use non-linear storytelling to create suspense and mystery, so I try to incorporate that into my writing, too.

Musically, I’ve always had a very eclectic taste; ranging from rock, prog and metal, through punk, pop, dance and indie, veering wildly into jazz, folk and electronica, the latter of which is what was the biggest influence on me, when I first began mucking about with sequencers and loop making apps on my phone. Bands like Yello, Kraftwerk and New Order are old favourites, while more experimental artists like Crystal Castles and Aphex Twin have also informed some of my more abrasive attempts at audio creativity.

As for actual art, (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc) I have no aptitude for that whatsoever, choosing once again to resort to 21st century gadgets in order to bring my artistic visions to life.

5) What is your favourite book/painting/song? 

I’m fairly sure that anyone who has ever heard more than one song, read more than one book, or seen more than one painting will tell you that’s an almost impossible question to answer, so I’ll just pick one of each from the air, in no particular order of preference:
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Metamorphosis by MC Escher.

Spirit of Radio by Rush


6) Your writing/painting/ music making ritual (if you have one)? 

I sit down, I start writing, I see what happens. That’s about it, really.

7) Your secret “sin” when you write/draw/make music? 

It’s a secret, you’re right.

8) Do you suffer from artist’s block and if so, what do you do against it? 

This is very rarely a problem for me, because I only write when I want to (which is almost all the time now) and I’m never short of something to say, however nonsensical it might be. Whether that’s a good enough reason to keep on writing it down is another matter, but I continue to enjoy doing so nevertheless, because it gets more enjoyable each time.


9) Your advice for apprentice creatives? 

Another easy one; DO IT! 

Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can. Start a blog, (as I keep telling my friend Biff, who has so many stories, he already has enough material for about a hundred blog posts. Come on Biff, I know you’re reading this…) take some photos, paint a picture, form a band, even if you think you’ll be no good at it. 

Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know how much fun you’re missing out on, or find out what hidden talents you might have.

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So, there you have it, as much random information about me as you could possibly wish for.

Thank you, Bee, for inviting me, it was a most thought-provoking experience. Here are a couple more of my musical selections to play us out…


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Words, music and the return of the Tenuous Lynx: The Liebster award (again!)…

It’s awards season again, with all the hype, scandal and controversy which that entails.
With outrage at the Oscars, grumbling at the Grammy’s and boycotts at the Brits, it’s good to know that there’s one place where prize-giving is still a polite and pleasurable pastime; The Blogosphere.

I’ve been extremely honoured recently, (and throughout my blogging adventure) in that I have received several award nominations on Diary of an Internet Nobody from a wide variety of other bloggers, who have very possibly taken a wrong turn and found themselves diverted to this little backwater, on an obscure side road off the information superhighway.

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The Liebster Award was, in fact, the very first one I was nominated for, way back in September 2012, so it’s nice to know that it’s still being passed around the blogging community.

As always, there are a whole set of rules that come with these awards, although they seem to vary considerably, depending on which version you receive.
However, since I never follow the rules anyway it won’t be problem deciding which ones are most relevant to me, (which is fortunate, as I probably wouldn’t qualify under at least two of the variations) but that doesn’t mean I’m any less grateful to be nominated.

This incarnation of the award comes via Brittany at blg2011motherof2, so thank you Brittany, I’m delighted to accept it.

I have decided to bestow my nominations on the last eleven bloggers to follow me, as the number eleven appears to be a feature of award this time around and it seems to be a nice way of showing my gratitude and appreciation to my new readers.
(That’s about the only similarity though, so if you are nominated and want to follow the original rules, go HERE to check them out.)

image I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can tell a lot about people from their taste in music, so instead of telling you a lot of useless facts about myself that you’ll instantly forget, I shall once again be employing the Tenuous Lynx principle, to connect my nominees to songs, bands or albums that I’m fond of, in the hope that you’ll discover something new and interesting to enjoy whilst perusing the blogs I’ve chosen.

Ready?

1) Sass and sauce – for cookery, cats and more.
Connected to: G. Love and Special Sauce and “Baby’s got sauce”…

2) Amy Parker – from thoughtful articles to short stories.
Connected to: Amy Winehouse “Live at the BBC”…

3) This thing called life, one word at a time – life, poetry and fiction.
Connected to: Richard Ashcroft and the United Nations of Sound with, of course, “This thing called life”…

4) My daily musing – ships, smiles and spirituality.
Connected to: Muse and my favourite track by them, “Plug in baby”…

5) Sableyes – dogs, motorcycles, tech and fiction.
Connected to: “Eyes wide open” by Aussie YouTube sensation Gotye

6) Shirley Blamey – personal journal with plenty of heart and humour.
Connected to: Garbage‘s Shirley Manson used to be a backing singer in Scottish rockers Goodbye Mr Mackenzie from whom we get “The Rattler”

7) Pass the bubble wrap – frank, moving and a little mad, a new blog from Australia.
Connected to: “The Bubblemen are coming” by The Bubblemen (aka Love and rockets)

8) Melting ice towers – impressive creative writing blog from two students in Nairobi.
Connected to: unhinged Japanese punk-pop loons, Melt Banana and their “Fetch” album…

9) A covert narcissist’s wife – emotional and raw, a cathartic blog written with a brutal honesty.
Connected to: “Malignant narcissism” by awesome Canadian prog trio, Rush

10) Café book bean – couldn’t be clearer; enjoy a book and a coffee? Come on in.
Connected to: classical/folk oddballs, Penguin Café Orchestra and the strangely beautiful “Music for a found harmonium”…

11) Greenland diaries – intriguing and atmospheric post-apocalyptic fantasy fiction blog from a self-published American author.
Connected to: what else? “Greenland” by Oregon electronica musician/producer, Emancipator

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So there you have it; 11 new blogs for you to check out, 11 musical nuggets to entertain you, giving you 11 new insights into my psyche (possibly), I hope you find something to make your day more interesting.

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{Toons by Ho}

 

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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.

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

 

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Flying Visit…

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Once more I’m handing my homework in late for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, so I’m writing this in detention.

This week’s prompt is as follows:
““fly/flies/flew/flu/flue.”  Choose one, use ’em all, it’s up to you.”

Ok then, let’s go…

Flying Visit.

Blake looked blearily at the glowing readout of his clock radio, groaning in displeasure when he eventually deciphered the fuzzy red numerals and “03.14” swam into focus.
The pounding in his head from the second, ill-advised, bedtime brandy (a medicinal dose, to help combat the flu that had kept him in bed, alternately shivering and sweating, for the last two days) hadn’t retreated from its position behind his eyes and it wasn’t helped by the loud, monotonous thud-thud-thud of bass-heavy dance music, coming from the apartment above.

He stared malevolently at the ceiling, hoping the party animals upstairs would call it a night and let him get some sleep, wishing for the fiftieth time that his imbecile of a landlord hadn’t chosen to uncover the one and only “original period feature”, namely the old Victorian fireplace in the corner of his small bedroom.

As far as Blake could see, the pointless little grate, with its surround of ugly ceramic tiles and ridiculously narrow mantlepiece, served only two functions; as a conduit for icy draughts in winter and as a year-round acoustic tube, providing a constant, echoing reproduction of every thudding bassline, every movie soundtrack and every outburst of raucous laughter from the room above.
Which would have been bad enough if he’d been allowed to use it, but it was for “decorative purposes only” apparently and he’d had to smuggle in a portable (and equally prohibited) gas heater, to counter the arctic blasts that issued from the open chimney in windy weather.

It was the second of its key properties that the fireplace was now demonstrating, at – Blake glared again at the clock, as if daring it to give him the wrong answer – 3.37 in the morning, and it occurred to him more than once (much, much later) that this was the time that his life began to change.

Angrily flinging the covers aside, Blake swung his legs off the bed and stood cautiously upright, expecting the shakiness of the last couple of days to return, but discovering to his relief that he was actually starting to feel better.

“Maybe that second brandy did the trick after all,” he said to himself with a grimace, his throbbing head smugly insisting that this wasn’t the case, “kill or cure, it’s the only way.”

He was hauling on a pair of jeans he’d found, after stirring the soup of clothes next to the bed for a while, when he heard the promising noise of an upstairs door opening. He listened, only now realising that the music level had in fact dropped several notches in the last minute or two and was rewarded with the sound of loud footsteps on the creaking stairs, drunken shouting, then the slam of the street door closing.
Blake relaxed.

“Well thank Christ for tha…,” he stopped abruptly as the music upstairs resumed, this time at an even more ear-splitting volume, “oh for fuck’s sake! Right that’s it.”

He grabbed the first top he saw, a faded Rush t-shirt with the Fly By Night owl logo just visible on the front, pulling it over his head as he opened the front door and marched purposefully up the reverberating stairwell, rehearsing what he was going to say to his inconsiderate dickhead of a neighbour under his breath.

He stopped outside the door, the music so loud here that it was hard to discern anything but the sledgehammer bass beat, and was lifting his arm to knock when he realised nobody would hear him if he did.
Hesitating briefly to weigh up the potential risks involved, (after all, he and an ex-girlfriend had once, half-jokingly speculated that the partying neighbour upstairs may in fact be a major drug dealer, hence all the comings and goings from his flat) Blake reached for the handle and to his surprise, the door swung open.

The music hit him like a wall as he stepped into the hallway, making his ribcage vibrate and ratcheting up the pain behind his eyes to an almost unbearable intensity. He clamped his hands over his ears and strode down the hall towards the room at the end, obviously the source of the cacophonous racket, took two steps into the room and stopped dead.

Laying face down on the sofa at the far end of the room was his anti-social neighbour, clearly unconscious. Although this was unsurprising, given that the table was covered in syringes, traces of white powder, rolled up bank notes and a huge pile of cannabis – which also accounted for the pungent fog of smoke in the room – and the fact the floor was littered with beer cans and vodka bottles.

But it was what lay on the floor next to the table that held Blake’s attention.

He didn’t know what made him notice it, it was just a sports bag, some designer emblem on the side, but it was open and he took a step closer, wincing as the music assaulted his eardrums, looking down onto…

“Fuck me!” he exclaimed, loudly and without thinking, slapping one hand over his mouth and whirling to look at the prostrate figure, checking for signs of life, simultaneously cowering under the renewed assault the music made on his unprotected ear and clapping his hand back onto the side of his head.

The unconscious dealer hadn’t stirred since Blake had arrived and, after locating the sound system and reducing the volume to a still high, but manageable level, he carefully checked for a pulse, finding a strong, steady beat almost straight away and feeling immediately guilty that he was disappointed.

“I mean,” he thought to himself, “if he was dead then who would be any the wiser?”
But he was still perfectly healthy as far as Blake could tell and he didn’t fancy living downstairs, not knowing if the bloke was going to come knocking on his door, demanding Blake give back the bulging bag of cash he had stolen from him.

Now he did take a closer look, spreading open the zippered top of the bag and emitting a low whistle between his teeth as he did a quick, very rough estimate of how much was in there.
Probably two hundred and fifty thousand, he thought, give or take ten grand.

He stood up, catching his reflection in the mirror above the equally unattractive twin to his fireplace downstairs, looking himself in the eye.

Dare he?
Could he get away with it?
The owl on his t-shirt gazed enigmatically back at him from the mirror, as the words from the song came back to him;

“Fly by night, away from here,
Change my life again.
Fly by night, goodbye my dear,
My ship isn’t coming and I just can’t pretend.”

Which was true wasn’t it?
He had no prospects, living in his crappy apartment, working his crappy job, putting up with his shitty neighbours, there was no point in pretending otherwise.

He looked down at the money.

He looked over at the silent drug dealer.

He looked back at the money and came to a decision.

He gently shook the man by the shoulder, making certain he wasn’t going to suddenly awaken, then, when he was satisfied, he lifted the limp figure carefully off the sofa and half-carried, half-dragged him to the hated fireplace, letting him down none too gently so that his head came to rest with a loud bump, face down, snugly in the small oval hearth, a faint light from Blake’s own room, just visible through the grating, at the bottom of the disused flue, one floor below.

Blake stood back and viewed the staged scene, bending to make minor adjustments to the unresisting arms and legs until he was happy that it looked a natural enough “accidental drunken fall” pose.
Then he took one last look around the apartment, closed the one open window, zipped up the bag and left, closing the door and leaving the thumping bass of the music still playing behind him.

He hurried into his bedroom, opening the small wardrobe and removing the gas cylinder he used to power his heater, then rummaged around in the box of junk under the bed until he found a roll of gaffer tape.
He emptied the plastic laundry sack onto the already cluttered floor and got to work.

The sack was just large enough to cover the opening that housed the fireplace, the gaffer tape making a perfect seal when stuck onto those lovely smooth tiles, meaning that Blake got it sealed up without losing any of the gas, which by that point was hissing out of its pressurised cylinder on the grate and drifting up the flue to the floor above, which was sadly blocked by a snoring drug dealer.

Exhausted, Blake fell into bed twenty minutes later, once he was sure the cylinder was empty, the flue was sufficiently plugged and there was no noise from upstairs, (the music having now mercifully come to an end) setting his alarm for just a few hours later, when he intended to go into the nearest travel agent and buy a ticket on the next plane to somewhere hot.

Two weeks later.

“Mr Peters? Phone call for Mr Peters?”, the waiter looked around the pool area until he saw a cheerful wave from the Englishman at the far end of the bar, “Telephone call for you sir, from England.”

“Thank you Carlos,” said Blake Peters, “I’ll bring it back in when I’m done.”

He handed Carlos a large tip, the waiter grinned, said, “Thank you Mr Peters!” and trotted back to the shaded veranda of the hotel.

“Hello, who is this?”

“Oh it’s nothing to worry about sir, I’m with the property agent with whom you dealt whilst renting the apartment in Madden Street…” When Blake said nothing, he continued, “..as I say, it’s nothing really, we were just wondering, during your tenancy, did you have any problems with…pests, at all…?”

“Pests, what do you mean, pests?” asked Blake, not sure if he liked where this was going.

Were they talking about nuisance neighbours?

Should he say something?

Then the agent solved his predicament for him.

“It’s just that the new tenants say they are getting infested with flies, hundreds of them apparently, they’re coming down the chimney, if you can believe that. Did you ever have any problems like that at all?”

“I’m sure I would have reported something like that.”

“Yes, well, that’s what we thought, sorry to trouble you sir. Don’t hesitate to call us if you ever need assistance in finding accommodation again.”

“Oh, I don’t see myself needing your services anytime soon, but thanks anyway. Good bye.”

Blake finished his drink and strolled over to return the phone, stopping once and shading his eyes as a small plane took off from the island’s only airstrip and banked gently across the azure blue water.

Blake watched it as it flew around the headland and disappeared out of sight, then he turned and headed back to the hotel.

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sunshine Award. (7 degrees of separation)…

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I’m delighted to say that I’ve just received another blogger award.
This time it’s the Sunshine Award, presented to me by Lanthie at Life Cherries and as usual it comes with some pass-on-the-award-to-other-people-and-give-some-facts-about-yourself type rules.
But if you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that I try and do something a little more interesting with my nominations, so with that in mind jet me introduce you to my new award.

All seven people nominated are of course automatically recipients of the Sunshine Award, but in addition they will receive my brand new accolade. (along with bespoke Ho artwork)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Tenuous Lynx Award.

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Here’s the idea. We all know we can connect ourselves with each other via six degrees of separation but I thought I’d go one better and connect the seven blogs I’m nominating for my newly minted award by seven degrees, all via stuff I like, thereby giving you that all-important insight.

Just because, alright?

(It would please me greatly if you attempt something similar when you pass it on to whomever you choose, but feel free to just bestow the Sunshine upon them if you so wish)

Let us begin…

☆★☆★☆★☆
Life Cherries gave me the award.
Cherries have stones.
The Rolling Stones recorded a song called Mother’s Little Helper, about housewives getting pills from their doctor.

The Doctor is soon to be played by John Hurt in the 50th anniversary episode of Dr Who and he was also in classic sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien
4º …the second sequel of which stars a host of British actors, including Charles Dance.
5º Charles now stars in the TV adaptation of George R.R.Martin‘s brilliant Game of Thrones.
6º Game of Thrones has a plotline involving dragons..
…bringing me to my first nominee, windhound’s colorful and experimental Dragon Shades blog, featuring beautiful abstract digital art and photography.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Dragon Shades brings colour to life.
Living Colour were a heavy rock band from the late ’80s who I once saw at Reading Festival.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde.
Wilde was played by Stephen Fry in the film of his life.

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Stephen Fry – Wilde man.

Fry used to be in a double act with Hugh Laurie.
Laurie has found fame in America both through his music and as the unconventional doctor in the title role of House.
House Music is often accompanied by elaborate computer graphics and digital video effects.
Which are just the sort of things that are on display on the blog of my second nominee, Waking Spirals.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Waking Spirals combines cutting edge art with literary quotes and philosophical musings…
…as does Waking Life, the extraordinary film by Richard Linklater who also made A Scanner Darkly.
Scanners is a film by David Cronenberg who also made disturbing dystopian hi-tech nightmare Videodrome, starring Debbie Harry
..who was in Blondie.

Blondie began their career at CBGB, along with other punk legends The Ramones and Talking Heads.
Talking Heads made my favourite concert film of all time, Stop Making Sense..
…during which David Byrne wears a giant white suit…
..and what do you have in the back of a suit?
A Vent, that’s what. Which is what Ron calls his blog, and he’s nominee number 3.
Check out his take on life in the big city, it’s faaabuuloso.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A vent is something you would use to release air.
Air are a French electronica band whose first single was the sublime Sexy Boy

…from the album Moon Safari and when the Apollo 11 mission went to the moon they planted a flag.
Flagg is a character in many Stephen King novels including The Stand, many of which contain monsters..
…and Stand is a song by R.E.M.
..who recorded an album called Monster.
6º  They also had a massive hit with Everybody hurts.
And what do you have if everybody hurts?
A World Of Pain, that’s what. Adam’s blog is funny, clever, thought provoking and occasionally mischievous. Go and take a look, you won’t regret it.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A World Of Pain’s Golden Face Palms are raising a lot of dough for cancer charities.
Dough is what bread is made of and Pain is the French for bread.
Pizza is also a dough and Pizzaman is one of the many aliases of Fat Boy Slim.

Fat Boy Slim’s real name is Quentin and Christopher Walken appeared in one of his videos.
Walken also appears in another Quentin‘s film, Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino’s films frequently contain prolonged shoot-outs, much like those favoured by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Spaced.
Someone else who was severely spaced was Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ fantastic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he and his friend stick out their thumbs and travel round the universe..
…as opposed to Quillan and Angela at Toemail, the fourth of my award recipients, who travel round the world and send back stories with photos attached, all of which contain a toe or two. Go dip a toe in their blog.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Toemail posts all feature feet.
A giant foot ends the Monty Python title sequence
…which is animated by Terry Gilliam who also made the dark and Orwellian Brazil
The original Orwellian nightmare, Nineteen Eighty Four revolves around the character Winston Smith.
The Smiths recorded a live album called Rank.

The Rank Organisation movies of the ’50s and ’60s opened with a man striking a giant gong.
The psychedelic band Gong recorded an album about a “Radio Gnome Invisible” who travelled in a Flying Teapot
…which would be an ideal accompaniment to my penultimate nominee, The Flying Fruitbowl, where you will find Aaron curating all manner of fabulous digital and fantasy art by new and exciting young artists.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A fruit bowl is an item favoured by artists painting still life pictures.
Still Life is an album by prog rock pioneers Van de Graff Generator.
The scientific apparatus, the Van de Graff Generator is used for making electricity.
Electricity was the debut single from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

…who also recorded Maid of Orleans, a song about Joan of Arc.
In Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Joan of Arc is played by Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Gos who had a hit with Rush Hour.

Canadian rock band Rush released an album called Moving Pictures..
..like the ones you’ll find on Sandro’s blog Life in Pictures, an eclectic selection of beautiful photography with something to interest and enchant everyone.

Which is my seventh and final Tenuous Link to an award nominee in this daisy chain of tangential twaddle. I hope you found something to entertain you amidst the forest of links and clips and if you are a lucky recipient, why not have a go yourself and pass along the Tenuous Lynx.

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{Ooh, and please link back to Diary of an Internet Nobody in your post. Thanks)

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Arts, Awards, Blogging, Charity, Films, Ho., Humour, Music, Music festivals, TV

 

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