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Blog Comments posted by caldrail

  1. He wanted to go back to the moon? Good grief, Vincent Lunardi was a selenite spy? What a revelation! :yes:


    Seriously though, I don't know what his motive was. Because the book is very rare and in extremely good condition for its age, it's protected in glass case and not available for reading. However, this link provides an entertaining insight into the man and his aerial adventure...



  2. Yes, sounds familiar. In fairness though Lydiard Park is now used as a venue for open air concertes (The BBC held one there a month or two ago) so the rubbish problem is actually not an issue.


    The problem is that the people responsible for the park wanted a big grass lawn for people to laze around on. It's as if single mothers and their noisy offspring are all that matter.


    That's as far as their imaginations and experience go regarding the use of public space. They're trying to do the same to Queens Park and that will be a tragedy.

  3. I saw Dokken, live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, supporting Accept on tour in the mid eighties. They played a blinder that night. I always remember Don Dokken striding across the stage and attempting to twirl his mic stand in one hand. He failed utterly, but with consumate professionalism, forgot the thing existed and carried straight on singing at the front of the stage.


    I asked my friends after the gig whether they'd seen that event. Nope. Too busy enjoying the show.

  4. :unsure: Not quite. The Air Training Corps offered flying experience to youngsters as part of it's affiliation with the Royal Air Force. At the tender age of 14, I flew for the first time, though on that occaision I got ten minutes handling the controls. At that age, flying in a military trainer is really something. You just couldn't help be excited by the prospect of it.

  5. Oh cheers Neph... :unsure: Actually, the woman was an idiot. I never took her seriously after that, especially when she didn't seem to know what a session musician was - and she was the local rags music correspondent.


    Fun? Well it had its ups and downs, like any endeavour. The interminable travelling wore us down a little. Our red van (it had to be didn't it?) wasn't actually roadworthy and on one fateful night, we had a loose spark plug on our return journey from Blackpool. After repeated attempts to screw the thing back in with our bare hands, it eventually fell off somewhere on the M6. With an engine that never ran well in the first place, having only three cylinders wasn't enough to haul two tons of gear and people, so we pulled into a service station to make repairs.


    This was late autumn if I remember. The wind was strong, cold, and it was a damp night. Me and Dave caught sight of each other in a mirror and we could only laugh hysterically. We looked like a cross between scarecrows and victorian chimney sweeps.


    It's interesting how perception plays a part. Swindon by and large regarded us as a local band, something I found odd, since we only ever played a handful of gigs there. Indeed, most of our gigs were outside Wiltshire. Our usual venues were found in London, Bristol, the south coast, and the north of England. The fact we were recording albums and playing some serious gigs didn't seem to impact on Swindons conciosness, and I wonder if this was partly because that silly journalist had written us off.


    The truth is the music business takes no prisoners. It really doesn't. Something like half our gigs in the early years were played to almost no-one, and it's soul destroying to watch your audience melt away after the first song. I think though it was those occaisions where it really did work that made it worthwhile. Besides, we all felt it could go somewhere.

  6. .

    And you didn't have all those 'groupies' or whatever you call them, throwing themselves at rock musicians either, isn't that right, caldrail ?


    I am so tempted to write 'Confessions of a Rock Drummer' :unsure: Truthfully, I did encounter 'groupies' but obviously the level of attention varies with the success of the artist concerned. "Spider Dijon" I was not. But hey, having a woman do her best to get off with you in the darkness of backstage 'Devizes Bowl' may have been poorly timed (I was waiting to go on stage) but ye gods it was fun.

  7. This spring has been very colourful. The chalk uplands of the MArlborough Downs are a somewhat lonely landscape, but that isolation has a charm of its own. Farming is more intensive than it was forty years ago, much more emphasis on crops rather than sheep grazing, but it's also a suprisingly rugged area with all those rolling hills, mostly because being so exposed to the elements you're not sheltered in the same way as the flat lowland farmland around it.

  8. It gets better. I've just popped down to the supermarket, and my route passes by one of these rehearsal places tucked away in an alleyway behind some offices.


    As I passed, a group of lads were leaving, guitars in hand, all looking very fresh faced and innocent - not one over the age of twenty.


    One of them was talking and he said (and I kid you not) "I swear to God, he used to play in some band called Red Jasper. Got left behind or something".


    I don't know whether to smile or cry ;)

  9. Erm.. Was that a compliment? Actually I don't really think I'm idealizing the past at all. I spent my youth banging my head against every brick wall in my path. The internet wasn't the tool it is now in any way whatsoever, and for the most part community support for music was paying lip service.


    Local music is a different ball game now. In my home town, there are at least three professional rehearsal facilities - you didn't see that in 1980! All we could do back then was find a hall we could hire and hope no-one complained.


    What I haven't described is the sheer frustration of trying to run a local band. The image of a bunch of mates getting together and making music for the fun of it is a ridiculous notion that belongs to american youth fantasies. The reality was you spent ages trying to find someone who could actually play, then watch them fall under the spell of girlfriends or motorbikes as you desperately tried to stop the band falling apart because we weren't playing someones favourite style of music.


    Don't get me wrong. I did go professional in the end, for three short years, and I do make a lot of tongue-in-cheek comments about my 'rock star' status. It was tough going. Lots of travelling in vans barely held together by rust, late nights, ungrateful promoters and venue owners, and a population of people who wanted to hear something else.


    But I don't regret it for a moment. I do get people scoffing at my efforts and sometimes disbelief I did anything in the first place, but I was there, they weren't. 'Nuff said. Intellect doesn't come into it.

  10. It isn't the international co-operation that bothers me, it's the creation of a single european empire. We have our individual nations as a result of all the tussles and bickering you mentioned. Any great empire put together the way this one is, by the back door whether or not its populace want it, is bound to end in tears one day. All these politicians want is power and their name in a history book. What we'll actually get is to bequeath strife and violence to our descendants when local nationalism grows more powerful than central bureacracy.

  11. In fairness, he wasn't a nazi, just very annoying. And he did get a mite upset when I wouldn't listen to his eulogies anymore. I've only met two other scotsmen in Swindon. One spoke an incomprehensible language whose origin is lost in the mists of time, the other was an ex-soccer hooligan whose hobby was beating people up. None of them mooned at me. I think Mel Gibson was talking out of his rear.

  12. The great tragedy (beside the loss of peoples prosperity) is the loss of automotive diversity. Great names like Pontiac are gone. The same sort of thing happened in Britain as many of the old motor manufacturers merged under the banner of British Leyland in the 70's, and we were poorer for it. Are we seeing the first glimmers of socialist America?

  13. why would you enter into a relationship with a woman, things go very well, decide to go on vacation for a year (or more!) to go explore (read: to go find yourself), tell this to the woman you've been dating...and then be shocked that she's not happy that you're going.


    It's that uncomfortable feeling that you've been used isn't it? Well I can't claim moral superiority. In my younger days I treated some women the same, but then again, some women have treated me that way too. Unfortunately it's how human beings are. That probably won't help you feel any better. Perhaps this might. Smile. Always smile. There's nothing an ex-partner hates more than to see you're happy. There's more to life than sex anyway (good grief, what am I saying?) so you may as well enjoy it.


    Take pleasure in small things, because the bigger treats are always worth the wait.

  14. To some extent the 'old' music is heard through rose-tinted eardrums. We have mental associations with music. For instance, Black Velvet by Alana Miles, or Sleepy Satellite by miss Morrisette always reminds me of better days and I end up smiling.


    Listening to the first two solo Dio albums or Michael Schenker's efforts reminds me of those days I struggled to make headway in the music business.


    When I finally gave up music as a career move (or lack of it) I just switched off. My hifi remained as a dust gathering ornament for six months. Things have moved on of course. Nowadays I can listen to my old Red Jasper stuff without getting annoyed. The thing is, some of those older tracks were distinctly fresher. That first Montrose album - raw, pulling away from the blues based rock of the Zeppelin era, and these days sounding extremely politcally incorrect. Ozzy's first album. Sheer optimism preserved in fluent metal guitar (even if one track has become associated with darker things since).


    The production values have changed in modern times and I get the hint that many youngsters would dismiss the music of my time as poorly produced. Certainly the Glory Road album by the Ian Gillan Band comes nowhere close to the jaw dropping sound and energy they achieved at their subsequent Monsters Of Rock appearance at Reading. That said, when Sisters of Mercy brought out Floodland the quality of recording stunned me as I heard Dominion for the first time over a pub speaker.


    Fashions change though. The 'College Kid' sound of Green Day grates on my ears. It's so insufferably happy whilst trying to angry too - it just doesn't work for me. Yet they've also done some great singles.


    I think at the end of the day we forget that music should be enjoyed live. However pleasing and impressive an album production might be, it doesn't capture the mood as actually being there, witnessing something happening.


    Well, I've waffled a little, but I guess music has been such a large part of my life it's just impossible to divorce myself from it. Good on yer PP, enjoy the vibes.

  15. What is it with women and little 4x4's? We blokes go to great lengths to purchase full on supercars and the ladies sneer at our outward display of testosterone. Show them a cute little box on four chunky tires and they melt. I just don't get it. What's the attraction of a faux cross country vehicle that can't corner properly, doesn't seat more than anyone elses, isn't equiipped for arctic tundra, won't be driven on anything remotely muddy, and uses more fuel to go slower?

  16. I wonder how that could be. The uneducated youth, which obviously exists in California as Wiltshire, often displays a system of relative enthusiasm and poor dialogue. I find it interesting, and baffling, that such people could inspire a novel. It's hard to see any of them with any passion or insight as to the human condition, and lets be honest, if you write a novel based on them it ain't gonna be Romeo & Juliet!


    I didn't know you were writing one. Good luck with that.