Thursday, 22 September 2016

Stand by!!!  The Rat is back.  This time I'm moving to a remote island in the South Atlantic!  I've also passed some of my radio exams.  More to follow.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A New Blog!!!

Dear all...

The blog is set to return.  It time to pack up and get out of here!  More to follow...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Swanage Folk Festie....Phew!

I want to write but I can't because there is only one thing on my mind and I can't, more like dearn't, talk about it.  What a way to open a post...Lol!!!

Ok, some straight reporting then.  Out of the blue a friend suggested that the Swanage Folk Festival would be a laugh so I duly drove down, confirmed it is indeed a laugh, drove back again and returned better equipped for beech life the next day.  The weather was glorious and I bumped into several traders including Sian Thomas and her partner Damian who have appeared many times in this blog over the last 2 years.  Great people.  Always a pleasure.

I spent most of my time crashed on the grass slowly sipping a pint and taking it all in.  There was lots going on and I met new people and maybe confirmed a suspicion about those I have met before.  I accepted a generous offer that begot a comfy sofa for the night.  Saturday night.

Nice thing about being retired is that - providing you don't die or something - there is always another day and you can largely shape it as you see fit.  Saturday was refreshingly hassle free and fortunately this agreeable formula was repeated and another lovely day finished with fish and chips with wine and chat.  A lot of chat.  Hours of lovely, quiet, honest, deep, intelligent and sometimes difficult chat in the flicker of candle light.  Candle light has a way of making mental pictures with a sepia tint and that so fits this night.  The moment of my year - at least.  So that was Sunday.

It's funny how our lives often can change in an instant.  It can be a health shock, a career decision, you could read a blog.  It could be a double take and smile.  These events can take a time to sink in but when encountered you know something unusual has happened and you wonder what may happen next.  I wonder.

It was Lizzy's 21st recently so I went to see the old bag in Cardiff.  She is happily dealing with boy issues and we had a sharing session over green tea.  In fact she was very happy.  Moving to Cardiff is the best thing that could have possibly happened to this remarkable young lady and she has grown into a fully functioning, confident, independent woman.  Yup, worth a Nikon that.  So I bought her one.  Happy birthday hun.  Love ya.

Has there ever been a post on any blog with so much beauty and impressive talent on display?  I don't think so.  An interesting group of photos. Just to complete the set and given this is Lizzy's 21st, here is one of me when I was 21!   Always the huge firebreathing Kawasaki's....

Everything needs a spark to catch fire.  That what has burned so bright only needs more fuel to burn again but sometimes those who's time is coming need the catalyst or an opportunity to be what they can be.  Then "all you have to do" is take it.  Think I'm talking shit?  Click the link and take 4 minutes out.  Way to go.....


Am I going to take my chance?  I always attempt to.  A double edged comment if ever there was one but true nevertheless.  Such is the nature of hope if you possess it.  It leads and you follow.

Good night one and all and plan the deliverance of your dream through the execution of one perfect moment....it could be just a look and a smile...

Reef again and a rough live version but I love the lyrics.....it may go!!  Let's hope not.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Black Widow Rock Corsham! - 2nd September 2012

You know it's true....not all at once though...it's not the age it's the mileage.

Last Sunday was the Great Corsham Rock Extravaganza for the British Heart Foundation and we rocked!  This was our second gig in 2 weeks and we were ready.  Our warm up gig was more of a success for the viewer than for us up on stage.  We thought we were shit but the video suggested otherwise.  This time however we felt great on stage and judging by the noise the packed house were making they felt great as well.


We even look like a proper rock band in these photo's.  Fortunately there were no surprises on the day and everything went smoothly.  Well, I say no surprises...it was nice to see some new friends make the journey.  What is it about 6ft rock chicks in knee length boots standing on the furniture dancing?  Everything...it is everything about them.  Need a shower thinking about it....wonder if she needs a drummer?

This is for 6ft Polecat Valkyrie Warrior Maidens. 


And I have just seen this!!!!  V for Vendetta is in my all time top 5 films and the Disturbed's version of the song is much better than Genesis's.  This is well worth a watch.


Hoping to have BW video on soon!

More to follow, incomplete post.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Black Widow Rock! and Tips for Exceptional Baker's - 22nd August 2012

Last night Black widow played their first gig and we were terrible!  Charmaigne, always the professional, saved our bacon time and time again.  That said, we had the whole pub singing "Rolling in the Deep" and and our song selection appeared to be popular.

Actually this was an interesting gig.  What we thought would be a Wednesday night open mike affair with a dozen people and a Jack Russell turned out to be a packed pub full of musicians and their friends.  We "headlined";  more accurately we were the only band therefore we went last.  In truth you have to respect the "support" (that included Charmaignes 2 daughters).  The support were incredibly talented.  They sung there own stuff and they weren't afraid to stand up with a guitar and do their thing - for £20.  Massive respect guys I wish I could have got your names...next time.  I wish I had started this shit at 18 and not at 38.  I'm 46 and there are not enough youthful, carefree years left to do the things I would like to do.  Things I could have realistically achieved....  Still, spending my youth permanently pissed, shagging the world, riding bikes, building a career and, at one time, virtually living in Amsterdam did have its appeal I suppose.  I had to have the career to pay for it all!

Even though this was our worst performance for at least 3 month we did get 2 bookings and a regular spot at The Pilot, Bowerhill, Melksham into next year.  What a stroke of luck.  With a regular slot at a pub where people come from Bath and Bristol to play I think we can build a following and that must surely be the next step.  If we can get our standard up to Charmaigne's we will earn good money and more importantly get the better gigs.  The better you are the easier it gets - funny that.

I've been baking bread today.  Bakers are interesting people.  The best of them have their secrets and quite right.  After all they need to protect what they have - good recipe's.  My mother was a professional cook and her food is simply awesome.  My mother told me this: good recipe's are not important because you can write your own with enough trial and error.  How the baker cooks however is something he - or she - cannot conceal.  It's hardwired, it cannot be concealed.  It is either good, bad or exceptional.  A good baker (say) can make a simple plain batter and it will make a decent Yorkshire pud.  My mother, an exceptional cook, can take the same ingredients and make the lightest, crunchiest most perfectly cooked Yorkies that taste so much better.  The moral:  It is not the recipe that matters it is how you cook.  It is the who, not the what that attracts the hungry eye.  I don't care about knowing recipes because, like my mother, I can bake myself. An exceptional Baker is priceless and I can learn from such a cook.  They make everything and anything taste incredible but they are very, very rare people indeed.  They need to be recognised, respected and cherished.

One final thing about exceptional Baker's.  They seldom taste their own amazing food.  They get more pleasure from cooking for others than for themselves.  Exceptional Baker's need another exceptional baker to eat properly.  Good bread takes time to prove and that means it needs to be left alone to emerge ready for cooking and enjoying.  I'm going to do that because I like good bread and I'm prepared to go a long way to get it - Hovis is everywhere.

After all, we are what we eat, aren't we?

Exceptional music for exceptional Baker's, wherever you may be:


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

All Clear and Practise, Practise, Practise - Early Aug 2012

Odd post this one....gonna dot some extra music links about...just fancy it.

First the headline news.  Last Friday I went to the Royal United Hospital in Bath for a check up.  They went through everything.  Urine test, 2 blood tests, chest X-ray, ECG, blood pressure and a full physical examination.  It appears I have very nearly completely recovered and I'm still improving.  I have indeed got away with it.  Having the Medical Consultant saying with a broad grin that I am healthier than his 30 something Registrar was a major boost.  He also pointed out that for my particular attack I had treatment that amounts to the best available in the world.  Appreciate it.  Time to move on.

Recently, when it was needed, a simple cluster of texts made a big difference.  Whoever you are, where ever you are, Steve Steinman and The Dolmen have a special significance now!  Cathartic indeed.

Try this one:  What the Chillies are to the US, Reef are to the UK.  What a great band, what a song and they are from Street, just down the road.  Give um a go - love the lyrics.


After coming back from 2 weeks or so festivalling I'm fully back in the swing off things and I'm working through the necessary steps to get the 2nd September gig on.  I have promoted a few rock events before, big or small it's the planning, always the planning.  Know thee one and all, assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

And another from Reef, again great lyrics.


I am also performing so it's an hour a day behind the kit and the results are coming.  We play White Wedding by Billy Idol and for a drummer it is a very busy track and it is my favourite to play from our 1 hr set.  With band practise this Sunday and I'm in good enough "touch" to really look forward to it and be a rock star once again.

One more..I freak when I play this.  Ga and I freaked when we saw them do this at Glasto only a couple of years ago.  They were so young on the clip...


Prior to the 2nd Sept Day of Rock at the Royal Oak, Corsham, we have a warm-up do next Wednesday at The Pilot, Bowerhill, Melksham.  Good stuff.  The only way to practise playing live is to play live and it's will be so good for all of us to finally launch our band, Black Widow, and show what we have.  I think we all believe that in a year we will be genuinely good.

Another practice room favourite...a real classic this one from an otherwise iffy pop album.  Harsh but true.


Ive had visitations this week.  Fart or Martin if you prefer, popped up from town and we duly caught up with Ga and proceeded to the pub.  A few beers a bit at Ga's flat and we cabbed it home.  What a dude.  Nice curry.

(By this time I hope you have noticed that actually I'm watching the Olympics and surfing You Tube looking for my fave songs and fave bands and filling this decidedly mediocre post with extremely high quality, shit kicking music...)  We will all be stone dead forever one day.  Yet again the lyrics here are excellent.  Great bass solo from ya man Lemmy and an incredible guitar solo from Fast Eddie - even for a master such as he.


After that Lizzy appeared yesterday and as ever that means a dent to my wine collection.  We watched DVD's into the early hours and had a glass of wine or 2, 3.....you get the picture.  She is an art student.  It's so nice seeing so much of her.  No cat's in the cradle here.


High Jump Now...

I'm about to be barred from every bike bar in the country for this one but I think this is the last really good song AC/DC, my beloved AC/DC, ever wrote.  Lucky it's so brilliant!


We got a Bronze - Robby Grabarz, good on I'm!!!  Made bread yesterday, most of it now resides in a student.  Bet it cursed me on the way down, bless it.  At least I have the crust...tea and nice toast!

Ok, no more coherent words just a few more music hits for you to enjoy.  Well, if you have come this far why not!!

This is an amazing song.  Been there?


I've just seen this and if you have never heard it give it a go.  You are listening to Lemmy here - the original new age music from er...a bygone age.  Fart will be choking on his Alpen if he open's this link - he hates Hawkwind but this is basically an emence lead solo.  Mate, don't do it. If you do, do you remember Stonehenge '83 (or '84?) when they played and I gave in to the inevitable...the fact that gravity beats cheap welsh fungus?  25p a cup, bargain!


My fave 4/4 "standard" rock band of all is the cult.  There are so many great songs and Billy Duffy is a great guitarist for that genera.  They hardly ever played it live because Ian Astbury couldn't do it on stage!  A monster.


What can you say about a group of junkies who met in rehab and didn't really move on to much..  They can play?

This is one of my fave all time songs. Audioslave are simply incredible. This is my rock. The whole album is diverse and contempory and Chris Cornell sang the theme for Casino Royale as well. Everyone this is the regal "I am the Highway". It's emotional.


If you want a insight into the lyrics for this great song see below: (This isn't my words but a lesson for us all?)

      "It takes from Scripture. Pearls (treasure) refers to the Gospel/Scripture as a whole, swine (uncleanliness) represents those who reject it Messiah (Jesus) said not to cast pearls before swine. Bereft is the past tense of "bereave," to deprive, make desolate. Cornell seems to be stating different paths/dogmas he has come across, and the path best for him is the one he makes for himself."

Now you know, play it again. If you are low get your hairbrush and sing along LOUDLY!!!

Ok, this is the last one and sorry to Nina and Muse but this guy nails it.  The greatest feel good song of all time?  Enjoy!


Thank you good night and may your God go with you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Festies! Larmer Tree and Pump Festivals - July 2012

This will be a long post and will take me a couple of bites to get everything on so please bear with me.  The photo's are great and I have met some wonderful and beautiful people.

I'm not a folkie.  My daughter, who worked both festivals as well, is and I think a little baffled that I don't even open the programme these days to see who is playing.  I go to festivals to break up my largely mundane life.  I like to talk (usually about myself!).  Working festies gives me a reason to talk to people and selling high quality, guitar shaped furniture is a great reason!

The other traders are a great crew.  Most are serious, or have been serious festival goers and all have a story and all have some hidden talent.  In short they are a great crew and I think Roger, my boss, and I fit right in.  We all know that friendships can be fleeting and we all accept that we will all meet each other again sometime.  This wonderful situation means you can be yourself.  Being outrageous and "letting go" is very easy and refreshing in such company and in such places.

"Festivaling" is about the people for me.  The music brings the people.

In the photo's below I've tried to capture this:

My step-daughter Lizzy to the left and Megan, the Lady from Pennsylvania, US of A to the left.  Megan's son make up this trio.  Megan all 2st 4lbs of her has a huge voice.  More of that in the narrative to follow.

This lady was next to me trading with her artist husband.  As a young lady she spent 10 years in the US and returned with 2 small Thai children.  The rest of her life I would imagine was equally as interesting and I love this photo.  the painting in the background makes it.

Take enough photo's and every once in a while you get a classic.  This was not posed and this lady, who's name alludes me, was the owner of this stall and I will get a high quality copy of this and give it to her as a gift next year.  Love this one!

Rose is a trader who makes felt.  She did the multicoloured felt tails that adorn my festie hat and my well travelled manbag.  This is her normal look and she is great - and obviously a nutter!

My point about people is made here.  The first I love.  There is a lot to look at with the back drop having as much impact as the subject!  The second is motherhood, just motherhood.  I wish I knew who see was; again so I could give her this snapshot.

Reg is an old hand and boy doesn't he look like it!  This is a real character and he runs/owns the Arts Cafe at the Larmer Tree festival.  We partied with some of his staff at the Larmer and it was my moment of the summer festie season.  He, I and a few of his staff had a late night drinking session and we had professional standard singing (with Megan, Sparkle and Ashley) hand drumming (Reg and I before I could no longer keep time..) and an empty, closed, cafe tent to play for.  Bliss, true bliss.  Thank you guys.

The first photo.....I don't know what to say!  The second is my founder of my feast or should I say Fest, Roger.  My bosh showing what he thinks of my selling skills!

That's not tea in that cup.  It wasn't the first cup she had either!

Sian and Damian are a great couple.  Met Sian several times at festies and we are getting friendly.  Hey guys, really looking forward to seeing you soon at mine.

"You ain't seen me, RIGHT!!!!".  Pissed at the Larmer.  My favourite tipple took a major beating this night.  A bottle of wine followed by a bottle of Rum made a great night better!  This guy will remain nameless.  Why?  International spy?  Criminal on the run?  Billionaire doing the cheap?  He probably went sick....

Mud, mud, glorious mud, there's nothing better for cooling the blood.  Yeah, no shit.  This site does not contain any positive references to mud.  This particular variant is Larmer Tree.

Would you buy a veggie burger from either of these two ladies?  Yup, me too.  I bought loads of them.

The components of a festival.  The semi-pro, the pro instrument support, the great locale, the tiring workers and the diversity.

...and the scary...

....and the weird...

......and the friends enjoying each other...

...and the music that brings...

.....all of you...

...in contact with lil' ole me.  I thank you all.

To music.  There is only one song that could possibly end this post.