Friday, 30 September 2005

Salivating in anticipation ...

O wow! Look what I've found!

Released on 28 November (according to is a best of S L A D E DVD and double CD. Cor! The DVD has a lot of material that's not on the 'Wall of Hits' video so this is a very exciting development. There's nothing new on the (remastered) CD but I don't care - I want it!

The DVD track listing is:

1. Coz I Luv You - Promo Video
2. Mama Weer All Craze Now - from Top Of The Pops
3. Gudbuy T'Jane - Promo Video
4. Cum On Feel The Noize - Promo Video
5. Skweeze Me Pleeze Me - Promo Video
6. My Friend Stan - Promo Video
7. Merry Xmas Everybody - from Top Of The Pops, 1975
8. Far Far Away - Promo Video
9. Thanks For The Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam) - Promo Video
10. Let's Call It Quits - Promo Video
11. Nobody's Fool - Promo Video
12. My Baby Left Me - That's All Right - Promo Video
13. Give US A Goal - Promo Video
14. My Oh My - Promo Video
15. Run Run Away - Promo Video
16. Radio Wall Of Sound - Promo Video
17. Hear Me Calling - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
18. Look What You Dun - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
19. Darling Be Homes Soon - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
20. Coz I Luv You - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
21. Get Down And Get With It - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
22. Born To Be Wild - from Granada TV's Six Of The Best
23. Them Kind Of Monkeys Can't Swing - from Slade in 'Flame'
24. Take Me Bak 'Ome - from 2G's and the Pop People
25. Everyday - from Top Of The Pops, 1972
26. How Does It Feel? - from the Russell Harty Show, 1975
27. In For A Penny - from Supersonic, 1975
28. The Bangin' Man - from Supersonic, 1975

How can I find out if this is all true? There must be a website about future releases ...

Thursday, 29 September 2005

Don't say it in Russian ...

Been to see the amazing Marianne Faithfull tonight - an excellent show indeed. She has such a large back catalogue it's either easy to choose a track list or the most difficult thing in the world - please the punters or please yourself and I thought she played it just right. Her version of 'Working Class Hero' is astonishing and it's a song she's made her own after all these years (and Yoko Ono applauding at Patti Smith's Meltdown over the summer).

It was also a delight to find out afterwards that Anita Pallenberg was sitting behind me! I wondered who was rustling a crisp packet at one point but now assume she was opening a packet of fags since she she lit up as soon as the concert ended!

I'm so dedicated to my work as well - jut done some briefing for our press office on likely questions from (biased) journalists following a conference tomorrow - had a tip-off that the BBC and other TV channels will be asking questions ... that will then be picked up by the 'papers as is usually the way ... all in a day's work, I suppose. *yawn*

Monday, 26 September 2005

And so to work...

Went to work today (aren't I brave?). Not too bad at all, left home at lunchtime for a trip to the Hotel Russell in Russell Square for an awayday of sorts. Downside was that it went on till after 6.00pm and I had to travel home at the peak rush hour, standing most of the way on the tube and all the way on the bus. My poor back.

Downloaded Kate Bush's new single - it's there on repeat on her website. Definitely wasn't too sure about it the first time I hear it, but it's growing. I want to hear the full album!

Saturday, 24 September 2005

And the man at the back said everyone attack...

... and it turned into a Ballroom Blitz!

I am *loving* The Grimley's sountrack CD which has a surprisingly good selection of music. Listening to it and loving Ballroom Blitz, Tiger feet, Spirit in the Sky and all those other old goodies from yesteryear. The inclusion of the Bay City Rollers is a disappointment but I can live with it - 30 years ago I would have sworn at the very mention of their name and now I own one of their records. How times change.

Mind you, I really ought to listen to some new music sometime soon (just not quite yet). I'm turning into an old fogey thinking all the new hot acts (or however one describes them in trend speak) sound like old bands - Franz Ferdinand sound like the Jam, others sound like watered down versions of the Clash - even Robbie Williams' new song sounds like Madness. I heard KT Tunstall on something the other week and she sounded sort of original so I might dip my toe in her (so to speak).

I've bought dozens and dozens of CDs over the summer but they're all of old people - I need some new music to perk me up. In a nice way.

Until then I'll play my Glam Gods LOUD!

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Another book and CD

I finally started reading the biography of Kirsty MacColl, one of my long-term musical favourites. I've had the book for ages but it's been stuck underneath a pile of 20-30 CDs so it's easier to pick up other books. Reading about the Great God Nod yesterday made me decide to finally read it so I started and I'm about half-way through.

It's interesting and nice to read about Kirsty but it's a bit of an undergraduate dissertation, full of quotes from people about Kirsty rather than original writing. Nothing wrong with that really, but not quite what I expected.

It brought up some nice memories for me, like wandering over Clapham Common to get the bus to work in Fulham in 1989 listening to 'Days' on the radio and singing along. I loved 'Kite', some great songs on that album (in my case, a cassette). Then I got all the subsequent albums up to 'Tropical Brainstorm' - didn't get that album for some reason (can't really recall why not). But I got it as a wonderful surprise Christmas present a couple of years later and I *love* it. "Alegria, alegria, happiness and joy!"

I also got my latest CD today (I'm listening to it even as I type). It's 'The Grimleys' soundtrack from the first series. I didn't see the series but I had to get the CD since it's got an accoustic version of 'Coz I Luv You' by none other than Noddy Holder! The surprising thing is that it's actually a good selection of early-mid '70s chart music. I've already got most of the songs on other compilations but there are a few I'm pleased to be able to add to my collection, so it's a good investment on top of getting the Noddy track (which is a great version of S L A D E's first number 1 single).

I even ventured into work today, hobbling along the street, a pronounced limp but at least I could stand up properly. A walking stick would've helped (O God, I'm an old man already...). The bus was a bit painful, feeling every stop and start and bump in the road in the nerve ends jangling in my lower back. Ouch. Only did half a day but that allowed me to clear my inbox and deal with a few things. Started getting a bit tetchy after a couple of hours with all the little movements involved in being at work - like turning round to see who was walking into my office (I sit with back to the door) which was a right pain - nice of people to pop in to see how I was but ..... ggrrrrrr.

Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Keep on Rocking!

That's not only the standard sign-off strap-line on postings to S L A D E fora, it's also how Noddy Holder (aka The Great God Nod) ends his autobiography. I've been meaning to read it for the past month or so but only got round to reading it today - and read it right through in one sitting. Fascinating stuff, a lot of which I already knew in outline, but great to read about Noddy's life in his own words.

He'll be 60 next year, and it's S L A D E's 40th anniversary as well... might that mean a proper retrospective might be issued? or a DVD? or a proper (glossy) book about them? or (sharp intake of breath) a reunion? I wouldn't put anything past the Lords of Noize!

It was a stroll down memory lane in some respects, and not just for the S L A D E memories. Noddy's description of his home and way of life in the '50s wasn't that different in some respects from mine in the '60s. Except we always had an indoor toilet and bathroom, of course.

The book focuses on Noddy growing up in the '50s and '60s, the early days in the 'N Betweens and months spent in Germany, becoming Ambrose Slade and then dropping the 'Ambrose' to become global gods everywhere but America. The period from about 1978 to 1991 is only briefy covered and 1991-1998 is only a few pages. The glory years of the early '70s are covered nicely and invoked many memories for me. Lots of name dropping, of course, and a crash course on how he invented his famous mirrored top hat - all lovely stuff.

As a result of reading the book I've just downloaded 'You Boyz Make Big Noize' from iTunes, the last album I need to complete my S L A D E collection. It's sad how many of their albums just aren't available on CD - or, rather, have been discontinued. The 'greatest hits' is still available but that doesn't even include all the hits. And I want the 'B' sides as well! I'll just have to be satisfied with I've got... for the moment ...

Contemplating the Nature of Time

What's it all about then? As far as I'm concerned it's Tuesday night but when this is published it'll show as a Wednesday posting. Time passes.

Went to see 'The Big Life' this evening. The evening didn't start off too good with me hobbling round the West End trying to avoid being bumped by the crowds wandering around aimlessly. A five minute walk from the tube station took a lot longer than it should have and I was exhausted by the time I met Chris at the theatre - walking is such an effort. Not the ideal way to start an evening at the theatre I'd been looking forward to for a long time.

'The Big Life' is billed as "a feel-good ska musical which transports the plot of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to 1950s London" beginning with the characters arriving in England on the Windrush from the Caribbean. So, it's 2005 outside but the 1950s in the theatre. Except we're watching it with 21st century sensibilities.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, great fun, loud and always on the move. In a couple of places it seemed a bit raw and not quite right and the pace of the production made clapping a bit awkward since the scenes changed so quickly. But that aside, it was a good show. And it ended with snow in Picadilly Circus as our new friends were out for a night on the town.

There was a very strange moment in the second half when one of the main characters tries to see a professor he's corresponded with and, after checking with said prof, the secretary says something like, 'learn your place nigger' before slamming the door. There was absolute silence at that point, just for a second or two, like we'd all been slapped in the face, before a few murmurs started, cut short by the character starting a soulful, bluesy song about the difficulties of living your dreams.

Hobbling back to Leicester Square tube station I cut through Chinatown and that gave me two thoughts. Firstly, I remembered 'Hot Neon' a song about sleazy Soho from the first Rock Follies series in 1976 and that cut into a discussion I'd had with MTSB at Flashbacks last Saturday about porn cinemas in Soho in the 70s and 80s and how there weren't any there now. And he's quite right - I recall seeing big red neon 'XXX' signs all over the place back when I first moved to London 22 years ago, but you just don't see them any more. Probably for the best. Strangely enough that then made me think of the Bowie song when Time 'falls wanking to the floor'.

My mind's been a proper Tardis this evening.

Monday, 19 September 2005

Oooh, ouch, what the f***....

A slipped disc is an interesting experience (well, that's one way of viewing it). It's certainly painful. It took me about forty minutes just to get out of bed this morning with lots of false starts, ended with seering pain shooting round the nerve endings of my lower back. 'Ouch' is an understatement. At least then I was able to hobble into the living room holding onto furniture to steady myself. This is silly.

It would be boring to dwell on the downside of a slipped disc. One of the bonuses is that after I've put a CD on the player I can't really jump up to change the track or CD. It's easier to listen all the way through than try to change the disc. This means that my latest favourites are Pink's 'Mizunderstood' and the Indigo Girls's 'Rites of Passage'. Both are excellent albums in very different ways.

Friday, 16 September 2005

Prolapse, herniated, slipped

It's been another one of those days when my back reminds me it exists (well, without it I'd fall down a lot, I suppose). Or rather not my back, my slipped disc. I could feel it yesterday, every now and then I'd move and notice it, but didn't pay too much attention to it - it's a bit like a selfish spoilt child, the more you pander to it the more it wants. In my case, the disc presses on the nerve that runs down my left leg. I should be used to it by now but it's a constant surprise when that shooting pain runs down the back of my leg and the foot goes numb. Ouch.

Woke up this morning and there it was, still there even while I was in bed. Bad sign. That says to me I'm going down the usual spiral route of pain and discomfort that lasts a few days and then one morning is fine again. It's happening more frequently lately, probably because I'm carrying an expanded belly round with me and I weigh 15 tonnes. Or thereabouts.

So didn't go to work - I've got enough to do to justify working from home. I need to put some advice to ministers on a couple of things so this is a nice opportunity to draft the notes in peace and quiet - and a bit more comfort than my office. Went out this afternoon to post some eBay products to my customers (as I like to think of them, basically a few CDs I no longer want). Walking was awkward at first but after 15 minutes or so I loosened up enough to walk more normally rather than the odd tense waddle I sometimes have to stop myself doing when my disc is playing up. I still haven't had the real pain yet so maybe this time taking it easy has worked. Maybe?

Lost love

I feel so guilty... someone has just declared their love for me on a certain chat site I frequent. I had no idea, just friendly banter and then this happens. I don't think I've done anything to encourage it but you never know how a flippant remark might be interpretted. I'm at fault somewhere down the line, no doubt, but the important thing is the future not the past... I need to say something appropriate, positive but not encouraging that line of thinking... O dear.

Listening to my Rock Follies CD at the moment (the one from the first series) and the magnicient chorus of 'Biba Nova' ("We're all gonna live forever" repeated several times). Some good tunes on there! Wouldn't it be an idea to do a new Rock Follies series with the same actresses now, to show the development over the past 30 years... I'd watch it!

Had a 'big' meeting this morning (that wasn't really that big I realised after I got there) about getting computers into the homes of the most disadvantaged school pupils. Some interesting discussion with everyone have the *right* solution - most of which contradicted each other as usual. Why do 'third sector' groups (ie voluntary, community and charity) *always* have to present themselves as having the only possible solution to any potential issue or problem. Seems daft to me and easily seen through by anyone who knows the issues. Still, gotta smile and shake hands and make nice... it's really quite tiring though. And I wore shoes for the meeting as well!

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Biscuit tin...

This entry is going to be a bit like a biscuit tin - lots of different biscuits that you rummage round until you find the one just ready to dunk into a mug of tea.

Last night, just as I was thinking about bed I heard Buffy Sainte-Marie singing on the telly - it was on as background white noise rather than anything I was actually watching. Lo and behold - 'Soldier Blue' is on! I'm sure it was on about 6 months ago but hey, gotta watch it. The massacre at the end is so sad but the film ends with a nice scene of our hero (Richard Strauss) and heroine (Candice Bergen) alive and kicking and smiling - down but not out. I then had to listen to Buffy's 'Native North American Child' album - that's the 1974 compilation of some of her native American songs from 1963 onwards. I also had a Buffy morning listening to her music on my iPod on the way to work. A few Buffy's set me up for the day!

On the way to catch the bus I stopped off at the Post Office sorting office to pick up my latest purchases from Amazon and was delighted to find I had two parcels - one containing the CD of 'Rock Follies of 77' and the other had the autobiography of Bambi Lake.

Watched the DVDs of Rock Follies (all 12 hour-long episodes covering both series) over the past couple of weekends and decided I wanted the CDs (I got both albums on vinyl when they came out in 1976 and 1977, obviously). What a great show that was and it was my first exposure to the wonderful voice of Julie Covington. I even got her album when it came out but it was an odd selection of songs that didn't really work for me. She went on to star in the National Theatre production on 'Guys and Dolls' in the early '80s (a show I've been told about endlessly over the past few years) but I've never seen her in anything - that would be quite fun, to see her in a musical or something.

Bambi Lake is a bit different. I don't really know anything about her but Justin Bond (in his cabaret show I saw over the summer, Justin Bond and the Freudian Slippers) sang a couple of songs he attributed to her and I was fascinated by the words and the images they evoked. It's a world I'll never know or inhabit (and I don't think I'd want to) but she sounded like a fascinating character and I want to know more. She doesn't seem to have recorded any of her songs - or at least I can't find any on any of the sites I look at - so her autobiography is the next best thing. It's taken about 5 weeks to arrive from Amazon - it looks like it's an American book (you can always tell) so that's probably why! It's now on the pile of outstanding books to read (Noddy Holder first, then Frida Kahlo once I've finished my current rather excellent fantasy epic by Julian May).

Then went to work (as you do) and did emails and stuff, followed by two meetings about Africa (we're going to save Africa with computers...). Interesting meetings and some nice opportunities are presenting themselves but it's a bit of a distraction at the moment (even the slight possibility of a trip to Ghana) what with everything else happening. Then had our Press Office on the phone about an article in the 'Telegraph' newspaper (and the 'Mail' might run an article) and needing briefing on a new research report published today. Having no-one working on research at the moment I had to do it mysef (that's so annoying, actually having to do work!). It was a bit disappointing to see that the report was from Bristol University and the author was someone we've worked with in the past - it would have been nice to know in advance that the report was coming out. Looking at the summary it seems as if the journalist hadn't read the report - that's mischief making, not journalism.

This afternoon was more productive with a useful meeting at the British Council offices off Trafalgar Square about the Global Gateway - a website colleagues elsewhere pay for but which I have an interest in. I'm not keen on it at the moment but it has so much potential if it's handled right. I just need to influence it in the right direction (from my point of view, of course).

Then went window shopping for laptops on Tottenham Court Road with Chris. Why have laptops suddenly gone widescreen? Or have I missed something?

Monday, 12 September 2005


So, what's that all about then?

Here we are, mid September and I'm still wearing sandals for work, untucked-in shirt flapping round my waist, and comfy baggy trousers. When should I move back to a suit and tie, I wonder? A gentleman of my age and standing should look and dress the part.

... but I can't be bothered. I dress like I do, at least in part because I can, I can get away with it, at least until I get a new job and then it'll all change, of course. When will that be, though?

Maybe it's all the result of my hippy past clinging to me like grim death? I remember the long hot summer of 1976 after I'd done my 'O' levels and wandering round barefoot when I wasn't working in Laws Store (supermarket) in Blaydon (as in Blaydon Races fame). Not long after that the hair came off, the jeans got narrower and the music got louder and faster.

Funny old week...

The last week was a funny old week really. Scorching hot and sunny weather, ending with a tropical storm, thunder and lightening, and the road outside my house looking more like a river than a road. Food poisoning (or rather, dead-thing poisoning) and having the most gorgeous pizza I've had in ages this evening at a little pizza place in St John's Wood. Had a demonstration of and then played with 'gaze recognition' software at the start of the week (wonderful technology that I wouldn't pretend to understand) then failed to fix Chris's laptop which is infected with spyware. Oh well, another week ahead... wonder what it will bring?

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

Ho Hum

Back in working order after the clucky incident and back to work. Not something to be repeated quickly.

I'm currently listening to 'Sweet Fanny Adams' by The Sweet blasting out of the speakers. If only there really was No 11 on the speakers...

Failed to book a holiday in Mexico ... again! It's just not meant to be.

Monday, 5 September 2005

Cluck cluck Chicken (swallow)

You, dear reader, might not have noticed as yet from my blog entries that I am a vegetarian and have been so for 30 years (I agree, I'm old). Neither fish, flesh nor fowl have knowingly graced my plate nor my stomach in all that time. I have no doubt that some dead stuff has entered my mouth on occasions, if only because the people that provide buffet-style sandwiches never have the grace to separate the dead stuff from the acceptable cheese and vege materials (cheese always features heavily).

Well, today, gentle friend, I suspect I might have swallowed some chicken. Had a lunch time meeting so we provided some sarnies and fruit as well as the usual undrinkable coffee and weak tea. The sarnies were from Pret, cut into quarters and all liberally coated in mayonaisse and pickle so they all taste broadly the same. I picked my way round the sarnie platter getting what I assumed were safe sarnies. I have the suspicion - bourne out by a gut ache all afternoon and evening - that one was contaminated with a dead chicken...

All I can say is bastards!

I'm not a rabid anti meat-eater by any means but is it *so* difficult to separate out the dead stuff from the edible? Why mix it all in? Are they truly stupid? (no need to answer that). All I've had to eat today is two and a half quarter sandwiches (less than 2 slices of bread) so, by rights, I should be starving... I just can't face food at the moment.

So, dear friend, I still have a bit of a gut ache as the dead stuff wends it's way through my internal passages. I can feel it much lower down my body than earlier. I won't get too graphic, but after 30 years my intestines really don't have the kind of bacteria (or whatever) needed to properly digest a dead clucky thing.

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Frida ~ Tension and Passion

Spent the evening wandering round the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern with Chris. Not the happiest collection of paintings but beautiful nonetheless. This is one of my favourites, one of her many self portraits with monkeys (spider monkeys).

It would be so easy to think of her as 'poor Frida' with her spine and legs broken in an accident when she was young with gradually deteriorating health. But that's not how I see her. A brave woman, yes, but proud with it, a heart full of love, a love of truth and beauty and a determination to share her vision of the world. And her world is both scary and beautiful. I'd love to know more about her. Naturally, I saw the film when it came out (and then got the DVD) but I bought her biography tonight to learn more about her.

One of my favourite paintings is one of the earlier American ones when she accompanied her husband (Diego Rivera) to America while he painted murals for rich Americans. There were a few at the exhibition contrasting America with Mexico and I love 'Self Portrait on the Borderline' - you can't really see it very clearly here, but the thing I really like is the row of exotic Mexican flowers along the bottom of the painting in contrast to the American gadgets and wires on the right side of the painting. The primitivism of the left side and the industrial right side of the painting. And there's Frida in the middle with a Mexican flag and a tab on. This painting can be on my wall any time.

I was quite touched at learning something of her life at the exhibition. She died 'fighting the Man' and is to be much admired for her political convictions. She caught pneumonia after having a leg amputated but insisted on going on a demonstration against the USA invasion of Guatemala. That effort was too much for her and she died. A simplistic version of events, but that makes her a great hero in my eyes who I need to find out more about.