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Found 6 results

  1. The other day I strolled into a music store in my home town, thinking of upgrading some recording equipment. It’s been a while since I took music seriously and having been unemployed for the better part of a decade, I could hardly afford to. But, with money in my pocket, time to splash out and get ready to impose my music upon the unsuspecting world. “They don’t make those any more” Said GK, someone who has sold me all sorts of instruments and gizmo’s for the last thirty years. After a short converstation, it was clear that music was not the hobby it had once been. I looked blankly at him for a moment and in that moment of awakening I said “Heck, I’m getting old….” GK couldn’t stop laughing. But I’m beginning to realise what a fantastic period of history I lived through as a young man. The days when you could walk into a computer or music dealership and buy just about anything are gone. The world has changed, and not for the better. Changing the Country The hullabaloo over Brexit continues with continued calls for a second referendum. Really? Didn’t anyone realise it was going to be difficult? Fact is, we had a vote, we voted to leave, that’s it – it’s going to happen. As much as EU strategy is to have our legs wobble at the sheer scale of our endeavour and ask to come back with our tail between our legs, Britain is made of stronger stuff. Or at least, some of us are, given how much whinging the remainers are making. But what do I hear from Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader? Renationalise everything. His radical new plan to save Britain is more or less to recreate the seventies when left wing politics still had some clout in this country. I well remember the seventies, and it wasn’t a high point in British history. Terrorism, strikes, the Three Day Working Week with the family sat around of an evening by candlelight, rubbish bags piling up on the streets. If there was any solid reason for keeping Corbyn out of power, it’s the 1970’s. Change of the Week There I was, walking home after a late shift in the wee small hours, when I spotted a fox. No, two foxes. No, three foxes. That’s a little unusual. But what startled me was that one of those foxes actually growled at me. Foxes don’t do that. They just silently retreat or flee. Not this scruffy young fox, as it turned to face me once it through the gates of the local park. Bared teeth is alarming in a dog. But a fox? Disturbing.
  2. caldrail

    Hands On The Reins

    Don't you just love conspiracy theory? Despite everyones manifest inability to control their own destiny and Mankind's penchant for getting it wrong, people believe their lives are being controlled by some strange unseen group of elite conspirators. Personally I find it a bit hard to imagine that the typical career politician reaches the top of his political tree and becomes top dog in his own country only to be told what to do with it by Men In Grey. The whole genre is nothing more than religion by another name - the very same sense of our lives being buffetted by forces we don't understand gave rise to ideas of gods, devils, and things that go bump in the night. Now we invent secret cabals of influential people that somehow control every aspect of our existence. I met a convert the other day. A young Romanian worker who was adamant that our dearly beloved BBC news was 'controlled'. I pointed out that the news team make editorial decisions about which stories it runs with, allowing for authenticity or public interest. "No no no" He urgently interupted in wide eyed piousy, "The news is controlled. I see on internet video of three thousand people being shot in back of head by ISIS terrorist with AK47. But BBC does not show it.". Oh. I get it. The internet is the source of all uncontrolled and real news is it? As much as I believe ISIS is liable to inflict such violence, even they have to obey the laws of terrorist practicality. In order to watch a terrorist shoot three thousand people taking an average of ten seconds overall for each, in order to aim, move, fire, and reload, would require a video eight hours long. I seriously doubt the BBC would contemplate showing that. Not even excerpts either - most people don't want to watch snuff movies. It's also worth pointing that something like a hundred AK47 magazines would be required for the task at the very least. That's a lot of ammunition to carry around. "No no no" He replied to my explanations, "I give you link to website that shows these things." No, don't bother... Under A Pass Walking back and forth through a pedestrian underpass near the bus station there's three things you an be sure of. Firstly it's going to be packed with people walking back and forth, secondly there's going to be some unfortunate soul who did not survive the encounter with their claims advisor sat under a duvet, and thirdly, someone will be busking. For some time we've been subjected to some old guy with a guitar, performing endless and half hearted blues music. This last time was a little less palatable. A youngster was banging the heck out of upturned pots and pans to an amplified drum track. Quite badly too. Of course it's easy to criticise. I learned that lesson in the music business. It did occur to ne though that back in the days when I was a teenager attracted to playing a drumkit and unable to own one, that I'd gone through a process of starting my experience of percussion with a mattress annoying everyone who could hear my efforts. Will this youngster go on to see his face on Drummer Monthly? A house in the country? Audiences of thousands around the world? Don't laugh - I used to think that was where I was headed. Okay, I did achieve a few big audiences and my stick skills ended up somewhat better than his. These days I keep a warehouse tidy. Maybe I ought to warrn him that no matter what his ambitions are, his life will be controlled by Men In Grey who will frustrate his efforts for the betterment of Mankind? Heck, I need to startb using the internet more... Training Of The Week Proof that my life in the workplace is controlled by management, I was offered an opportunity to get trained up on a pallet truck the other week. Not that big a deal in some respects - I've driven such vehicles in warehouses for years - but the fact the company was willing to invest in my training is a good sign. So I watched the non-violent videos, listened to the advice, took the truck out into the warehouse and guided it through an obstacle course, and finally passed a theory test. All passed. All smiles and handshakes. Once let loose my colleagues took the opportunity to poke fun, though some did congratulate me on my achievement. Eventually I came across Hard Hat in the racks who was most amused at my new mode of transport. I also got a phone call asking me what I wanted to do with those qualifications I'd gotten whilst unemployed. You mean the ones I asked you to tear up? Don't bother me with trvialities lady, I've got a pallet truck to drive...
  3. caldrail

    When Will We Be Famous?

    It's no good. After several evenings of cheap ready meals and the leftovers of my fridge, I felt there was no choice but to succumb to temptation. So I took the oportunity to blow some of my savings on a takeaway meal to stave off dietary diseases and boredom. At the local fired chicken store, one I frequent now and then when I have money to spend, I selected my favourite peri-peri meal. It'll blow my head off but for the english, this culinary torture is a masochistic pleasure, and for me, a welome relief. As a patient and indullgent father proceeded to order the deaths of several more hapless chickens, his daughter and a friend were turning the fast food establishment into an impromptu dance floor. I wonder if they're students at the performing arts school up the road? Not quite the colleges we get in England for that purpose (there's one in Swindon too), and far away from the psuedo-professional arts education parents throw thousands of dollars at every year to try and get their kids into a child-actor role in their summer break, but the result is the same. These two kids clearly believed utterly they were going places. "When we're famous..." One started, listing her favourite and desirable lifestyle accesories to achieve before her career implodes in a haze of drugs and divorces, the other simply giggling at the prospect. At this point I have to be honest. I have after all some experience of the performing arts, even professionally for a few years, and at a glance I noticed something. Despite these two girls confidence, their movements were less than elegant, their voices unpleasant to listen to at giggling volume, and whilst I'm sure their fathers think the world of their little angels, they aren't going to grow up to be lookers. It's a tough world. Especially when you want to be famous. Was I like that at their age? Dreaming of fame and fortune? Yep. I was. The difference is that I had parents who refused point blank to tolerate my adventures in music and so I did them anyway, pushing at the inertia of world ignorance with every ounce of my feeble efforts. These two young ladies are going to learn sooner or later that fame costs. And this is where you start... Well, you know what I mean.... I shook my head at the foolish ambition before me then hurriedly explained to the fast food assistant that I did want my meal with fries. Lacking Balance The sun has come out this morning. That's pretty much the good news today as I wade through the formalities of keeping the authorities notified of changes in my circumstances and benefits claims. My first gripe is my sense of balance. I'm reaching the age when falling over is no longer funny, and tends to get a bit painful. Caught in one of those 'banana skin' moments with wet leaves this morning... Woah!.. No, I've recovered, no I haven't... Uo-oh, this is embrarrasing....AAARGH! Thud. Ouch... I discover I've thumped my hand on the ground leaving very uncomfortable bruises and skin abrasions.What is happening to my life? Forty Things To Do Last week I saw one of those news items on my email service, the sort where someone lists all the things you should before you're forty. Most of them are faintly ridiculous, impossible, or self contradictory, written by some moron who thinks that visiting Paris is romantic, or jumping from an aeroplane an achievement, or that eating at a michelin rated resteraunt says something about you. One of the things to do was having children , which the commentator corectly pointed made the others more or less unachievable. But there's something more important here. It's the idea that we can claim a measure of esteem from our peers if we conform to their ideas of achievement. It's nothing more than keeping up with the Joneses. Do you really want to measure your life to a list of social requirements made by someone else? Or would you prefer to strive for something you decide is worthwhile? I suppose you could argue that wanting to be a rock star as I did in my younger days was nothing more than attempting to conform to some ideal. Perhaps. It didn't feel that way for me - that was far more of a personal struggle to free myself of family restraint and become my own man, forge my own future, and not have the fixed plan laid out before me that my mother and father clearly were striving to foist upon my shoulders. My mother always manipulating me, my father always making arrangements behind my back. I was so angry in those days - no wonder I became a rock drummer. Die, audience. Feel the power of my percussive wrath. Well I had my few moments of fame. Not so fortunate, as it turned out, but life throws those banana skins at us. Performer of the Week I came home a couple of days ago and ionce I'd thrown off footwear, jackets, shopping, and had the chance to sit and catch some breath, there was some weird music coming from somewhere. Sort of like Gary Numan's Tubeway Army when they're feeling sad and lonely. It was my downstairs neighbour, whose attempts to be deep and meaningful in the medium of song was seriously mournful. I turned the television on, raised the volume, but she didn't get the hint, the music was still audible. So there was nothing for it but to raise my morale and lift the mood with a blast of death metal. Ahhhh....... So peaceful.....
  4. caldrail

    Warm And Cold

    Shopping? Done. Interview at the job agency? Done. Gas account cancellation? Done. On my daily checklist I had only the obligatory online job search to do, so off to the library for another struggle with Microsoft's worst. Balloons? What's going on here? It's usually excessively warm in our local library but there seemed to be a much livelier atmosphere, and evidence of small scale partying. Worse still, as I ascended the stairs a jazz band started up, creating a very genteel background noise, like the sort of music you get in resteraunts. Years ago our band was driving through London along the embankment on our way home from a gig in early hours of the morning. We passed that odd resteraunt that stands on the riverside by itself between the trees, and our singer, Dave, commanded that the van be brought to a halt. Enough was enough. We'd all noticed the place every timne we went this way and finally his curiosity could bear no more. He had to find out what it was like in there. So I parked up for a while as a slightly inebriated folk-rock singer tried to gain access. The bouncers actually let him in to have a look. Apparently it was a very strange mystical experience with a rock band doing the impossible by playing at low volume as the clientelle ignored them in favour of expensive morsels and famous brand wines, and finally Dave re-emerged with the advice to bring a tie next time if he wanted to come in and eat. Sadly we were all struggling musicians without a penny between us, so that never happened, Okay, reminicense over, back to the library. I was expecting to be distracted by the music, but strangely, the easy listening tunes suited the mood and I got on - I strongly suspect I was typing in unison with the beat, but don't tell anyone. A guest singer was introduced who completely tortured 'Summertime' to death. Clearly not a finalist in X Factor then. Whether she was supposed to sing one song or not, that was it, and the band called everyone together before they found something interesting to do. A chorus of 'Happy Birthday' explained the change of pace. Oddly enough, when the band finished, the library started to empty. Maybe the guest singer was planning to sing again? Cold Facts I must be honest, now that my flat has no heating I am starting to notice the cold. Not for the first time, I have to say, just that now I can't do much about it except report my shivering on this blog. I notice that an MP has warned the gas companies not to use their customers as cash cows. Too late for me, I've already escaped the meadow, and worringly I quickly noticed newspaper headlines at the supermarket. A sharp freeze expected. Four inches of snow expected. Oh great. Well at least I live in Swindon. Thankfully our much maligned town doesn't seem to be greatly affected by weather - we never suffer the extremes you see on the evening news. One winter, the whole country was inundated with snow, drifts up to six feet deep, but Swindon? Not a flake. With luck the snow will pass us by this year too.
  5. Viggen

    coin operated boy (oh boy)

    coin operated boy sitting on the shelf he is just a toy but i turn him on and he comes to life automatic joy that is why i want a coin operated boy ...those are the first few lines of a song that i cant get out of my head. I promise, i tried, but it keeps coming back... It all started with a commercial on austrian TV. The biggest austrian jam manufactorer "Darbo" had a weired (but very interesting) ad, promoting one of their products with this song. (you can see the original version ) It is performed by the former street artists "The Dresden Dolls", who describe their style as "Brechtian punk cabaret"... American`s who name their band Dresden Dolls and their style "Brechtian punk cabaret", what can i say, love it! p.s. and what about the lyrics hehe, pretty obvious, what the lady is singing here about, isn`t it! ;-)
  6. Viggen

    Stuck in the 80`s

    I don`t know what is (is there?) wrong with me, no matter how good a new artist is, or how intriguing a new pop/rap/rock/soul/alternative/whatever song is, i quickly loose interest and get back to my good old 80`s songs... ...am i getting too old for all those new "superstars" that i dont seem to catch on? Sure, some of "my" hero`s" are still around, but there are not many that made it all the way from the eighties into todays charts, so how will todays kids feel in twenty years? Do older folks then me cherish "their" time (if there is such a thing) like the 70s or 60s, is that just the flow of nature that your teens are the most influential period and you cant seem to move on? ...anyway, i am feeling a little nostalgic today and Vienna from Ultravox is just the right medicine for the moment!