Saturday, 7 September 2019

And Now For Something Completely Different ...

1983 - and we as a family have got our first VHS video player.
A great hulking piece of kit that weighs half a ton and when sat on the shelf next to the TV, you can almost see the shelf bowing.
This acquisition coincided with (it appears to me) an upturn in the family "fortune" (ie my parents now had a bit more disposable income than previously, we were not dirt poor but not exactly well off either, but now it seemed more expensive holidays and consumer goods were attainable)

The other shift in the world was me moving into my teenage years, and suddenly trust was betowed on me.  Basically, my parents could now go out at weekends and not have to drag us snotty kids along with them.
And the Video player seemed to be an embodiment of this trust.
Saturday mornings were spent in the local Video shop choosing what to rent for the weekend, and Saturday nights we were left to fend for ourselves with nothing bu a microwave curry and a Viennetta for company.
And one of the earliest video rentals was Monty Python's And Now For Something Completely Different.
This was basically a re-recording of several sketches from the first two series, linked together in the Python-standard "stream of conscienceless" with failing sketches, recurring characters and Terry Gilliam animations.
"How Not To Be Seen", "Self Defence Against Fresh Fruit", "Nudge Nudge", "The Funniest Joke In The World", "Upper Class Twit Of The Year", "Conrad Poohs and His Dancing Teeth".  And of course two of the finest, most recognisable Python sketches (also recognised by many non-Python fans).
A lot like a Greatest Hits of Best Of compilation allows one entry to a band, this film changed my view of what "comedy" is.
Oh yes, there were many bits of that film that stuck, but I was not yet a fully-fledged Python follower.
That came over the next few months as the TV series was rented (BBC video for some reason only had 3 episodes per tape, so it was a long task).
And then there was more ... the films and records were found, devoured, learnt word-for-word and repeated amongst like minded weirdos (as we were called) at school.
Arriving in the world of work, I soon discovered there were other Python-infused minds around me, and friendships were formed based on the ability to recite "The Spanish Inquisition" or answering questions in a kind of silly high-pitched whine (as the Minister for Home Affairs once did).

Much like (the later trend) of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, we posited the theory that "All Roads Lead To Python", and you were never more than 6 (or maybe 8 if we didn't want to take too big a leap of logic) steps away from a Python-ism.
We even had T-Shirts printed up bearing the legend, and have been known to wander along Bournemouth sea-front shouting "Albatross!"

The TV shows ran for 4 series between 1969 and 1974, and was given the late night (10:30 on BBC2) slot on Sunday evenings - a televisual dead zone, but slowly (through word of mouth) it began to pick up an audience.  Series 3 made the transfer to BBC1, but by Series 4 it was returned to BBC2 (popular opinion (or the BBCs opinion) was that the show was a niche interest, and therefore had no place in prime time)
John Cleese left before Series 4 and went to do a little known sitcom called Flay Otters, or Flowery Twats, or Farty Towels, or something like that - no idea what happened to that show.  It seems to have been lost in the mists of time (presumably wiped by the BBC as I don't think I've ever seen it)

But he did return for the films.  The first of these (Holy Grail) was part funded by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (and wherever else the Pythons could find the money).
The budget constraints were obvious when you see the knights of the round table embarking on their quest not on horseback, but by banging two coconut shells together (a combination of both a great joke and necessity).
For their next film, funding was put in place by EMI.  Sets were built in Tunisia, Production crews engaged, scripts and actors finalised, and filming was to commence within days.  And then someone at EMI decided to read the script, and the funding was withdrawn.
The Pythons convinced a close friend of theirs to provide Finance through his (not yet formed) Film Company.  George Harrison re-motgaged his home in Henley (Friar Park), formed Handmade Films and stepped in as Financier and Executive Producer of the film.  When asked why he had gone to such great lengths to help, he answered: "I wanted to see the Film".  This is therefore the most expensive Cinema Ticket ever purchased.
The final film - The Meaning Of Life - nearly works, but sort of runs out of steam, and just doesn't appear as "whole" as the other films, or indeed the TV series.  There are many great bits in it, including some of the best songs they've done ("Galaxy Song" and "Every Sperm Is Sacred"), but just feels laboured, almost like they're trying too hard to make it work.

Since The Meaning Of Life in 1983, Pyhton activity has been limited to re-appraisals and (a few) re-unions).
The first "big" re-appraisal was for the 20th Anniversary which saw the release of the retrospective "Parrott Sketch Not Included" where all the Pythons were finally seen together in the same room (actually the same cupboard) for the first time since the final shots of The Meaning Of Life.
This is particularly poignant because Graham Chapman (with customary silliness (© John Lloyd) the day before the 20th Anniversary.

The last time the remaining Pythons were on stage together was July 2014s O2 shows Monty Python Live (Mostly).  Originally intended to be a one-off, it ended up running for 10 nights due to demand for tickets (and I never managed to get one, I tried but never manged to get logged onto the website, and the (foolishly) gave up))

50 years on and their legacy remains -in the TV shows, the Films, the books, the records, and their influence can still be seen, heard and felt.
Not bad for a BBC favour to Barry Took to put six untried comedians on the TV.


"Is this the right room for an Argument?"

Parrott Sketch (Secret Policemans Ball)
(John Cleese at his most unhinged, and Michael Palin desperately trying not to crack up)

Parrott Sketch - Updated (Amnesty International Benefit, 1989)


Monday, 19 August 2019

Frank Turner - No Mans Land

Frank's wikipedia entry describes him as "a punk and folk singer-songwriter".
On his latest album, he continues to strip back the Punk affectations and the emphasis is on the folky singer-songwriter.
Not that that is a "bad" thing, but the Punky bit was the one thing that gave his records a bit of excitement, an air of urgency, anthemic-ness, and a bit of a hook.

'No Mans Land' is a concept album (of sorts) - a collection of 13 songs celebrating women through history and their stories.
Mr Turner describes it thus: "an album dedicated to telling the fascinating stories of women whose incredible lives have all too often been overlooked by dint of their gender."
And he goes one stage further by engaging a female producer and a plethora of female musicians.
A concept and delivery that cannot be denigrated, but I do have the feeling of "trying too hard" about it.  There is nothing wrong with a group of songs focussing on worthy people, or indeed employing female musicians as your backing band.
It's only when you make a point of highlighting this fact does it become less about the content and more about the conceit.
Am I supposed to listen to these songs in a different way?  Am I supposed to take some education or thought from them?  By highlighting and celebrating a perceived minority, are you not re-enforcing that minority status?

But I quibble - this (his eighth album) is a good album housing 13 well written, well played tunes.  None of which jar on first listen, and each holding enough to warrant repeated listening.
Indeed, the second listen was more rewarding than the first
And then it hit me - my error on first listen was expecting a Frank Turner album.
Yes, it's his name on the cover, he does the songwriting and singing, but it is more of a Frank Turner "project" than a Frank Turner "album"

Suspending my expectations, I can report that this album is (nearly) "All killer, no filler" - maybe not "All killer", but there are no whiffs of filler about it.
Sometimes his (possibly affected) Street Busker accent takes over, but generally the songs do the job they intended to of telling a story against a musical back-drop.  And that backdrop is not one dimensional radio friendly pop-folk (or whatever genre Frank is now ploughing?), there's a bit of Country & Western ("The Death Of Dora Hand"), a jazz diversion complete with saxophone ("Nica"), and almost a bit of Tudor Minstrel going on  peppered throughout (notable on opener "Jinny Binghams Ghost").  And there are just a couple of tunes that sound vaguely recognisable, but are not wholesale nicks from elsewhere.
Having said that, the album does contain a re-record of "Silent Key" (from 2015s 'Positive Songs for Negative People').  For me, that song didn't sit comfortably on that album, but works in this setting.

If nothing else, it has got me searching wikipedia for more information about the songs subjects.
So maybe I was supposed to take some education from this "project".

Sister Rosetta

The Death Of Dora Hand



Friday, 9 August 2019

A New Season

This 'ere blog of mine is ostensibly (or more correctly "totally") a music based thing.
But now for a departure.

7:30 on Friday 9th August marks the beginning of a new Premier League Season, and by association the beginning of a new Fantasy Football Season.

For the last 3 weeks I have be cogitating, tinkering, referring to wikipedia, asking questions (and giving opinions/answers) on a Fantasy Football forum, all in the hope/belief of improving on my previous best of  2,238 points and a ranking of 158, 907 (out of about 5 million).
That was last year, and it's taken 11 years on Fantasy Premier League to get this far.
Having won a virtual League last year, the pressure is now on to perform as previously - hence the 3 weeks of focus, concentration, and (probably according to everyone else) time wasting.

My team is now set, and it's too late to change it now.  But I an going to find myself for the next 38 weeks staring at the BBC Website on Saturday afternoons watching for scorers, assisters, yellow cards, and generally shouting at the screen when a manager decides to substitute (or leave out) one of "my" players.
Sundays will be spent in a sort of Post Mortem state, as I analyse the errors in my team, take a sneaky look at other Teams, re-watch Match Of The Day looking for slight hints of form in previously un-considered players, and plotting my Transfer strategy for the next couple of weeks.

Fantasy Football - designed to appeal to Football fans with a love of statistics and spreadsheets
(that'll be me then!)

When I first used the Fantasy Premier League website, I thought it was just me.  Later I discovered several users on The Afterword site (another place on the interweb where I spend (possibly) too much time), and recently more Fantasy Football-ists have come out of the woodwork at work.
I am now a member of 4 Leagues - I feel like Manchester City now fighting for glory on 4 fronts.

If there are any other players out there, see you at https://fantasy.premierleague.com/
And if there are others out there, I'm hoping you understand my desire to get that team "just right" (or am I being too obsessive?)

And now to return to the musical theme:

Genesis - Match Of The Day

Sunday, 28 July 2019

They're Only The Band The Beatles Could've Been

I've mentioned "definitive compilations" before in previous insane outpourings, and I am going to suggest another.

Wings Greatest

12 tracks plucked from the 1970 to 1978 offerings from the band formed by Paul McCartney, his wife Linda and Denny Laine after the demise of The Beatles
Admittedly two tracks here are not actually Wings, being his first solo single "Another Day" and a track from 'Ram' ("Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey").

The tracks were chosen by Paul himself to fulfill the Capitol records contract in the America, hence allowing the band to change label.
It was released in late 1978, so contains nothing from 'Back To The Egg' (the last Wings album before (a) he went back to full-time solo naming, (b) he was detained in Japan on drugs charges, and 9c) the band split/retired/was brought to an end due to a combination of (a) and (b).
  1. "Another Day"
  2. "Silly Love Songs"
  3. "Live and Let Die"
  4. "Junior's Farm"
  5. "With a Little Luck"
  6. "Band on the Run"
  7. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
  8. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
  9. "Let 'Em In"
  10. "My Love"
  11. "Jet"
  12. "Mull of Kintyre"
What is missing from this compilation is Paul's attempt at political comment "Give Ireland Back To The Irish", the 1975 Top 10 single "Listen To What The Man Said", Wings rendition of "The Crossroads Theme", and "Girlschool" - the B Side to "Mull Of Kintyre" (or in truth, the double A Side) added to the single because McCartney wasn't convinced of the commerciality of "Kintyre".
Minor quibbles, because what you have here is the core of Wings singular output.

There was a period of time (probably primarily driven by Paul McCartney's few live performances) when his Beatles and Wings past was rarely re-visited.  The solo album/film venture 'Give My Regards To Broad Street' revisited his Beatles past, but save for "Live And Let Die", Wings were effectively consigned to history.
A Paul McCartney solo compilation ('All The Best') did include a few Wings tracks, but it wasn't until 2001 that the Wings legacy was properly re-appraised with the release of the compilation 'Wingspan: Hits and History' which covers the above tracks and adds the omitted singles of the period, choice album tracks, alongside later solo ventures.

CD1: Hits
  1. "Listen to What the Man Said"
  2. "Band on the Run"
  3. "Another Day"
  4. "Live and Let Die"
  5. "Jet"
  6. "My Love"
  7. "Silly Love Songs"
  8. "Pipes of Peace"
  9. "C Moon"
  10. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
  11. "Let 'Em In"
  12. "Goodnight Tonight"
  13. "Junior's Farm"
  14. "Mull of Kintyre"
  15. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
  16. "With a Little Luck"
  17. "Coming Up"
  18. "No More Lonely Nights"
CD 2: History
  1. "Let Me Roll It"
  2. "The Lovely Linda"
  3. "Daytime Nighttime Suffering"
  4. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
  5. "Helen Wheels"
  6. "Bluebird"
  7. "Heart of the Country"
  8. "Every Night"
  9. "Take It Away"
  10. "Junk"
  11. "Man We Was Lonely"
  12. "Venus and Mars/Rock Show"
  13. "The Back Seat of My Car"
  14. "Rockestra Theme"
  15. "Girlfriend"
  16. "Waterfalls"
  17. "Tomorrow"
  18. "Too Many People"
  19. "Call Me Back Again"
  20. "Tug of War"
  21. "Bip Bop/Hey Diddle"
  22. "No More Lonely Nights"

Wings Legacy?
I think the band will forever be known as "The Mull Of Kintyre Hitmakers", despite it being somewhat unrepresentative of their oeuvre.
OK, so they're never going to stand toe-to-toe with The Beatles, but hey this is Paul McCartney making Paul McCartney sounding music, and there is nothing on there that makes you go "Eh? What is that"

Trivia aside:
The first UK record to sell 1 million copies was The Beatles - She Loves You
The first UK record to sell 2 million copies was Wings - Mull Of Kintyre
The first UK record to sell 3 million copies was Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas

The B Side of the Band Aid single featured a spoken message from Paul McCartney, meaning he had been involved with the 3 biggest selling singles of the last 20 years
A designation that remained until Elton John's re-working of "Candle In The Wind" outsold everything before (and probably everything since).
One can't help but wonder if Paul McCartney had been asked to perform at the Princess Diana's Funeral, he could've maintained this record of being on the best selling UK single - although a re-working of "Live And Let Die" may not have gone down too well.


Paul McCartney is often quoted, when asked about The Beatles, saying "they were a great little Rock & Roll band", and on their day so were Wings.
Yes, they may have had the pressure of expectation upon them, been the butt of many jokes (specifically about Linda McCartney's musicianship) and at times fallen back towards the mass appeal MOR ("My Love", "Mull Of Kintyre", "Silly Love Songs") but they could also rock as hard as anyone ("Hi Hi Hi", "Juniors Farm", "Live And Let Die").
And in the words of Paul himself: "what's wrong with that, I'd like to know"


Jet
a song it is not easy to listen to without visions of Alan Partridge jumping on his bed in the Lintion Travel Tavern


Hi Hi Hi
The second Wings song banned by the BBC (after "Give Ireland Back ...") for it's "suggestive lyrics"

Rockestra Theme
Credited to Wings, and on the 'Back To The Egg' album, but in truth a "supergroup" featuring Wings, plus David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Hank Marvin, Tony Ashton, Gary Brooker, Bruce Thomas, Ronnie Lane, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Kenney Jones.



Friday, 12 July 2019

Mattiel - Satis Factory

Yo know those moments when a song pops up on the radio, and you think "I know this.  Oh no I don't, it's definitely new.  Oh hang on, I'm sure I've heard this."
And then a bit of research shows there is a whole album available by the artist in question.

A case in point here is "Keep The Change" by Mattiel - coming across like a sort of lost Northern Soul stomper/60s Garage Rock mash-up sung by Nico (a curious mixture, but one that is apt)- and the attendant album ('Satis Factory') is more than satisfactory
(some albums bought on the strength of one track can lead to disappointment, not this one)

Anyway, this was the song that stopped me in my tracks, started questioning my ears, led to an Amazon order, and then resulted in me typing this guff for your entertainment (ridicule?)

Keep The Change

The parent album contains 12 tracks with echoes of recognition throughout - Garage Rock, Velvet Underground, Nico, Jefferson Airplane, Psychedelia, even a bit of Debbie Harry and Courtney Barnett are noticeable  - all adding to the "Retro, yet of itself" sound.  The music on this album, at some point, touches most of the varying styles of the rock genre.  But this is no pastiche of the styles, merely a starting point of recognition that hooks the listener in (or it did me anyway).
The 12 tracks each clock in around 3 minutes, meaning this is a fine way to spend half hour of life.

Opener "Til The Moment Of Death" is a sort of Velvet Underground meets Country affair, with Gothic undertones.  The VU references (with added 12 Bar Blues) continue "Rescue You" and most blatantly on "Millionaire" where the laid back groove imparts all the recognisable bits of "Sunday Morning", "Femme Fatale" and "All Tomorrows Parties".
Outside of the aforementioned "Keep The Change", "Je Ne Me Connais Pas" and the narrative/conversational "Food For Thought" are contenders for the next single.
"Populonia" and "Athlete" veer into Psychedelia territory.  And "Heck Fire" ups the funk quotient a couple of notches.
Penultimate track "Berlin Weekend" is my particular favourite at the moment, pulling all these styles together, adding a bit more, and creating a stomping song that will lodge itself in your earholes for a good while.

Despite all the references above, I repeat this is no pastiche or carbon-copy album, merely a comfortable starting point to ensure half an hours prime enjoyment.

Berlin Weekend

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Tommy - Trimmed

The Who have released two double-album Rock Operas which have both been turned into Films.
(3 if you include the aborted Lifehouse project which nearly sent Pete Townshend tonto, and the best bits were salvaged for the peerless 'Whos Next')

'Quadrophenia' (the second of the Rock Operas) is, to my mind, damn near perfect in both musical and celluloid format.

'Tommy' is a great album, maybe a bit of filler crept in to advance the (possibly fanciful) storyline.  The problem for me with 'Tommy' is the filler which can sometimes be a bit jarring to overall enjoyment.
I'm not convinced the film version adds anything to the Legend.  If anything, Ken Russel's vision of Tommy just adds to the confusion and fancifulness of the storyline (although it is eminently watchable - and not just because of Ann Margret writhing in Baked Beans)
One option to reduce the filler tracks would be to just live with the it, and listen as the artist intended.
But we are the receivers, and we know best (don't we?  The Customer is Always Right (Even when they're wrong) ... ?)
Another solution either press skip a few times or pre-program the CD player.
A final solution (other than not listening to it at all) would be to produce a personalised CD-R, lifting the preferred bits, or in these days of Spotify Playlists, a Playlist would be the solution).

So let us assume we want to go down the trimming route - what to leave out, but still produce a coherent story and flow?

The original album, across 4 ides of vinyl, was constructed as follows:
  1. Overture
  2. It’s A Boy
  3. 1921
  4. Amazing Journey
  5. Sparks
  6. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
  7. Christmas
  8. Cousin Kevin
  9. The Acid Queen
  10. Underture
  11. Do You Think It’s Alright?
  12. Fiddle About
  13. Pinball Wizard
  14. There’s A Doctor
  15. Go To The Mirror!
  16. Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
  17. Smash the Mirror
  18. Sensation
  19. Miracle Cure
  20. Sally Simpson
  21. I’m Free
  22. Welcome
  23. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
  24. We’re Not Gonna Take It
The Trimmed Version:
  1. Overture
  2. It's a Boy
  3. Amazing Journey
  4. Sparks
  5. Christmas
  6. Cousin Kevin
  7. The Acid Queen
  8. Pinball Wizard
  9. Go to the Mirror
  10. Smash The Mirror
  11. Sensation
  12. I'm Free
  13. We're Not Gonna Take It
75 and a half minutes trimmed to just over 46 minutes (not quite right for one side of a C90 cassette, but if you further exclude "Smash The Mirror" (at 1 minute 20 seconds), the final version will sit snugly on one side of a TDK).

So why did you leave out half the tracks? I pretend I hear you ask.

"Overture" remains as the opener because this is a Rock Opera, and the affectations of high culture need to be re-inforced (all Operas start with an Overture, so why should Tommy be any different?).
"It's A Boy" stays because (a) it follows naturally from "Overture" and (b) it introduces the character (a bit like a "Seven Ages Of Man" type affair).
Which brings us to the first reject - "1921" is a nice enough tune (if a bit lightweight) and does contain the lines about why the boy retreats inside himself.  But I'm not convinced bu it, and I think "Amazing Journey" explains the premise of the story (maybe not how he came to be like that).  "Sparks" stays because it is a fine instrumental, contains enough recurring themes and motifs to keep the interest going - sort of like a mini-"Overture".
"Eyesight To The Blind" is ejected, not because it is a duffer (there's no duffers here) but purely on the basis that it is someone elses song and it somehow feels levered in.  Besides, I want to retain the singular vision of the artist (oh hark at me and my arty-farty snobbishness).
"Christmas" has the sound of early Who about it, with slight Beach Boys overtones.  It rocks a long, and I would miss it if it wan't there.
John Entwistle must be represented somewhere and "Cousin Kevin" is the best of his two offerings, particularly with the light vs dark, schizophrenic nature of this track.
"The Acid Queen" never really sounds right coming from Pete Townshend's mouth - the definitive version is Tina Turner's rendition - but whether it sounds correct or not, this is one killer track.
"Underture" just feels like a jam session (with a purpose) and slapped on the record to fill the time (I may be being harsh here and it's probably someone's favourite, but I can happily live without it)
"Do You Think It's Alright?" is 24 seconds of narrative to introduce the Uncle Ernie character.  Neither this nor the characters song survives my culling.  "Fiddle About" is vaguely amusing, but entirely in-essential (apart from giving Keith a starring role in the film).
"Pinball Wizard" is the best known track on the album, and only a fool would leave it off.
The next 5 tracks ("There’s A Doctor", "Go To The Mirror", "Tommy, Can You Hear Me?", "Smash the Mirror" and "Sensation") recount the moments leading up to and immediately after restoration of the senses.
"There's A Doctor" is narrative, and "Tommy Can You Hear Me" starts well enough (if a little light) but never really goes anywhere - and the repeated "Tommy" refrain at the end just gets on my wick.

 "Go To The Mirror" also contains the refrain "See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me" - a sort of clarion call to the healing process (and a key part of the live performance) - and the bridge section repeated later in "We're Not Gonna Take It" (see, Pete did think it through, and it all hangs together).

And so to side 4 - the triumph of healing, the "new religion" of followers, the denouncement and the conclusion.  And in my version, it is reduced by two thirds.
"Miracle Cure" is a blink and you'll miss it 10 seconds.  "Sally Simpson" introduces another character and provides the narrative jump to explain Tommy's new found Messiah status.  "I'm Free" (which survives) does a similar job lyrically, and is wrapped up in a much better tune.
"Welcome" just seems to drag - it's nice enough, but does have you reaching for the skip button.  "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (written by Keith Moon) does not hang around long enough to drag, but is all a bit end-of-the-pier, and would not be missed.
The Who often saved the best (and often epic (and/or overblown) until last - "The Ox" on 'My Generation', "A Quick One While He's Away" on 'A Quick One', "Rael" on 'Sell Out', "Won't Get Fooled Again on 'Whos Next', "Love Reign O'er Me" on 'Quadrophenia', "Who Are You" on 'Who Are You'.
And 'Tommy' is no exception with the album ending with "We're Not Gonna Take It" - the moment when Tommy's Messiah status slips and he is seen for what he is - the same as everyone else.

So there you go - I've trimmed 'Tommy' by nigh on 40 minutes, and by association knocked out most of the phenomenal performance included on the expanded 'Live At Leeds' (which will always be considered as one of the greatest Live albums ever released - and in expanded form (with the second disc being a start to finish 'Tommy' performance), it's an ever better Live album

We're Not Gonna Take It


Friday, 10 May 2019

When Inspiration Doesn't Strike

Latterly, I have found myself staring at the CD and Vinyl shelves asking myself the question "what do I want to listen to?"

It's not like I'm lacking in choice (he says big-headedly), I just can't summon the inspiration to choose.  And when I do finally make a choice, I'm dithering and changing my mind.
There's something just not firing.  There is some sort of fatigue or malaise taking over.
Even browsing and purchasing new stuff has become affected.  The Amazon Wish List is in place, there are scribbled notes all over the place of "stuff to search for", but just no desire to make the purchase.
A visit to a record shop usually spawns something  - I think it rude not to make at least one purchase, and I can usually find something of interest.

Nope.

The usual thing is that I get a song stuck in my head at some point in the day, and the only way to sate it is to listen to that artist when I return home.  This may inspire further listening of both the related and unrelated kind.  And when this itch has been scratched, further inspiration will befall me whilst trawling websites and blog sites of an evening.
I have probably spent too much time posting Youtube videos of "Cover Versions That Are Better Than The Originals" and "Songs Inspired by West Side Story and Other Musicals", or randomly shouting out (writing down) song titles including numbers, or offering an opinion on a Jam single.
But going to these places and participating has usually led to a new discovery, or re-discovery, which has kept the inspiration going (whilst continuing to fill up the CD shelves).

But at this moment in time ... nothing.

Recently, the interweb place I spent far too much time - theafterword.co.uk/ - has convened another semi-regular CD Swap Event.
The premise is a simple one - contributors are grouped together, they each select 12 tracks (loosely) based around a theme, and then send each other the burned CDs with no information or track listing.
Each contributor listens (without prejudice?) and posts their thoughts (and guesses of the artists) on the website in a sort of mass blind review scenario.
Previous events have led to some wonderful discoveries of both old and new artists that I may not have heard, or have ignored because I didn't "think" they were my thing.
But yet again, the malaise has struck - whilst there are a couple of avenues of interest, I've done nothing about it.


Why, why, why?
Am I to be inflicted with this and settle into a world of comfort with the same 12 albums in constant rotation?
Do I join the massed ranks of civilian-types who are unable to see beyond Abba, Simply Red, Coldplay, The Greatest Showman soundtrack, and other nuggets of mass produced pop-pap
(I know this is a snobbish thing to say, but there are people like that out there in the big bad world)


I would usually end these aimless missives with an illustrative video of my latest enthusiasm.
But as you've probably guessed, there is no such enthusiasm going on, so I'm just off to stare forlornly at the shelves in the vague hope of a flash of inspiration and renewed vigour.
Failing that, I will revisit the various websites and blogs hoping something fires the old synapses.

I'll be back ...