Sunday, May 31, 2009


I've just had my mind a bit stretched after a friend brought round a film called Primer to watch tonight. It was made for 7k, won Sundance in 2004 and has gained a very small cult following ever since (apparently).

It's only 72 minutes long, is devilishly hard to follow, feels no need to explicate itself for the viewer's benefit (a la The Wire, I suppose), deals with massively confusing physics and probably out-Darkoes Darko. Or to my frazzled brain at present it does, anyway.

Anyone seen it?


Abahachi - you stud!

  • Read a blurb in the Observer today that history students get more sex than other students. No wonder Abahachi only has so much time for us.

Testing 1,2,3

My first attempt at posting up links in the media player, so bear with me if it doesn't work at first!
So, for my opening shot, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite remixes of the last few years, all from artists who you perhaps wouldn't expect to get the remix treatment, but whose reworkings have taken the tracks in question in a new and interesting direction.
First up is a band I must admit I hadn't heard of before, The Rosebuds, whose Get Up Get Out is the sort of record that I ought to put on every single morning in a burst of "Hello birds! Hello trees!" enthusiasm. The fact that I don't probably explains why I am such a grumpy bastard in the morning. The remix is done by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whose For Emma, Forever Ago was one of my favourite albums of last year.
Secondly, a psychedelic rock band from Perth, Australia, Tame Impala, whose Half Full Glass Of Wine is given the Drunken Rage Mix treatment by fellow Aussies, Canyons, producers making a bit of a stir in Balearic circles at the moment.
We've already had a bit of discussion about remixers-du-jour, Aeroplane, but for those that missed it, here is their relentless, driving take on Now 'Til '69 from The Shortwave Set's ace Replica Sun Machine album of last year.
Bolton's finest next; a song that is already very dear to my heart, Badly Drawn Boy's The Shining, given a delicate, tinkling once-over by Bristol's David Edwards aka Minotaur Shock, who, as well as much other remix work, has had an album, Maritime, out on 4AD.
I've noticed a few mentions of King Creosote on here, whilst perusing some older posts, but this you may not know, a superb remix of You've No Clue Do You? by London-based producers, Atlantic Conveyor.
Last up, another band that most of you will probably be familiar with, Midlake, whose already-brilliant Roscoe is, I feel, taken to a whole other level here by Justin Robertson, someone who has been a big influence on me musically from his pioneering clubs, Spice and Most Excellent in Manchester in the early nineties and has had considerable success with projects such as Lionrock.
Right. Fingers crossed. Press "Publish Post" and hope for the best...

Get Up Get Out
Half Full Glass Of Wine
Now 'Til '69
The Shining
You've No Clue Do You?

Make Your Own Version

Saturday, May 30, 2009

La Voyage a Le Supermarché (sic)

Crap, forgot about Harvey Nicks

'Spill Shoping List

Broke & Hungry
Free Money
Soldier's Things
Step Right Up
Missing My Son
For the Price of a Cup of Tea
Store Bought BOnes
Punk Rock Girl
Shopping Bags
The Mall
Eat To Live
Pussy Galore
I am Selling Soul

Spill my beamz

Just noticed this on Butter team.. I think we need look no further for the first Spillharmonic act, Blimpy.. just invest the 759 dollars here, and we'll send it round the RR Spill and Dond map to create THE hit album of 2010..


Saw this amazing Canadian band live last night in Eindhoven (Effenaar - small hall, excellent venue), live they were an amazing mix of Sonic Youth/Mogwai/Neu! influenced sounds, powered by an Animal (of Muppets fame)-style drummer, great stuff!


I'm so sleepy.. but some quick adaptions for BBeat..
if you can work on the HARMONIC.. I think the O should be a disc.. I like the way the doulble LL can be used as an H.
It wasn't my first thought.. the H was going to be below.

And I do have your e-mail- but I like the way glasshalfempty has started it off in the open...
so we all should keep going like that.
(I'm shit at working with other people this is all done through gritted teeth!!!)

so this is what i mean by squaring it up and using the wine glass foot print as the dot.
i then went doodlin' it's not how it should be.. but it's not echoing other things: but the O in harmonic should be a record, I've come to that conclution.

all that would be too much for a label.. because it's the band that matters (yeah right...says the designers)
so using the wine glass print the more subtle S.H. gets printed.

(this isn't a good wine glass stain.. again doodling..... if you can put your one into the image.. that'd be great)
oh and a few songs..
back tomorrow with a proper playlist.

Earl Zinger it means a lot

Friday, May 29, 2009

Avant-Garde-Afro-Free-Jazz, anyone?

One of the reasons I love the blogosphere (of which we are all part, whether we like it or not) is the cool odd stuff it throws up from time to time. Whoda thought I'd be listening to some Afro Jazz at this time of night, eh? 

Thanks to GvsB for this one. Nice.

Jonathan Goes Shopping

A quick post, this one, just to draw your attention to the surprisingly extensive canon of shopping-related works by Mr Jonathan Richman.

You'll notice that Corner Store appears twice - this is not just because it's the most shoppy song there ever was but also because there are two different versions - the first from Jonathan's country album, the second just a plain old every day Jojo song.


I can't abide shopping

This is from the first scene in The Big Lebowski - I was hoping someone would've put it on YT but nuh-huh.

Valerie - Richard Thompson
Bo Diddley - Buddy Holly and the Crickets
Merry Christmas From the Family - Robert Earl Keen
Only In The Past - the Be Good Tanyas

Pretty Paper - Roy Orbison

Trip to Sainsbury's (etc) - the Cock and Bull Band


Wizard Buys A Hat
Happy Shopper
Been Caught Stealing
Supermarket Suicide
Shopping For Blood
The Butcher's Shop
Working & Shopping

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eliminate the commie-pinko-Spiller: call for gremlinfc...

Don't Vote, It's Just For Fun!

As glasshalfempty said below, clearly shane's yer man for the 'Spill graphics, but, even as a bit of a Johnny-come-lately, I thought I'd take up the challenge and have a bash anyway, purely because I love doing it.

A combination of the red, white & black, the spill (red wine not paint!) and the apostrophe idea.

I'm editing the post as it develops as a work in progress. Thanks for the kind words, feedback and suggestions for improvement so far.


Since I probably won't make the social this year, I though i'd better get in the picture while I can.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's The End Of The Week As We Know It ...

... which in 'Spill land means of course that it's Wednesday and time for another EOTW quiz. I've been planning one of these for a while now so I hope it's up to 'Spill standard. Unfortunately my planned greatest personal sporting achievement question was shamelessly nicked by gordonimmel last week (I was a bit suspicious when that photographer started snapping away as I was leaving Toffee Hall last Tuesday evening and I realise now that my draft list of questions was partially visible through the transparent folder) - anyway I've had to do a bit of serious thinking but I think I've got some that you'll enjoy.

1. Back in about 1987 or '88 I lent a Gray Nichols cricket bat to a friend of a friend and have seen hide nor hair of it since (not that it had either). It wasn't a particularly expensive item and I don't think I got into double figures with it more than once, but I liked it and I've often thought that if I still had it, I'd probably be a top international cricketer by now. So, the first question is: What special item have you lent to someone and never got back?

2. Last week I went on a school trip to the British Museum and found myself face-to-face with the Rosetta Stone. I've know about it for years, and I've been interested in its significance and I've probably seen it many times before, but there was something about seeing it close up, in real life, as it were, that just blew me away. Question two is: What historically significant artefact has done the same for you? What is your personal Rosetta Stone?

3. I'll come clean - I'm a bird watcher. I enjoy looking at small feathery things in my garden and, on occasion, I have been known to leave the confines of my own green space and venture forth into fields and farmland, binoculars and field book in hand. And I have to admit that I'm slightly embarrassed about it. It's not cool - it's certainly not rock'n'roll, never mind, punk, heavy metal or free jazz. But I bet you've all got some dark secret that you're dying to get off your chest (no, tincanman, not that dark). So question three is: What's your slightly embarrassing hobby?

4. There's been a lot of discussion over on the Mother Ship this week about books - science fiction in particular - and it's made me want to revisit some of those books that I read in the early/mid-70s. I know some people feel that once they've read a book, that's it - they can't or don't want ever to go back. But not me - there's nothing I like more than re-reading old familiar books (well, perhaps one or two things) and there's one book in particular that I keep coming back to: and that book is Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban. It's at the top of my desert island book list and if I was anal enough to have such a thing [What's that behind your back? Ed.] it would also be top of my most read books list. Question four is therefore: Which book have you read the most - and why should the rest of us read it?

5. About twenty years ago, I was driving back to Watford from Edinburgh with my dad, and we'd reached somewhere around junction 15 on the M1. Or rather he was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat, making idle conversation. I asked him a question (no idea what) and he didn't answer immediately - assuming that he was pondering (it was, naturally, a deep and perceptive question, of that I'm sure) I waited patiently for his answer. Only to find out that he wasn't pondering - he was sleeping. Doing about eighty miles per hour in the fast lane - or rather the fast asleep lane. Deciding not to opt for the gentle tap on the shoulder, I instead went for the banshee-like wail - which probably saved us. Anyway, we both lived to tell the tale but it was one harrowing moment and that's for sure! The final question (which in a way, I suppose that very nearly was) is this: What's the closest you've ever come to meeting your maker?

Over to you ...

Let's Do The Logo Motion

I entirely concur that it's inconceivable that the 'spillharmonic artwork won't be from shane productions. But to take the pressure off him, we can play around with the second division ideas til he's ready to win the cup.

I saw this lovely image from

In my mind, I also envisaged paint spilling from within a piano and dripping off the keys. My artistic and photoshop skills aren't really up to realising it, but you get some idea from the following incompetent effort:

Any other ideas while we wait for shane to do the real mccoy?

No, no - the future is bright...

I wasn't able to post over the weekend but I've been musing about the future, specifically: I know a lot of us are or were in bands, and although I wasn't, I did at least get asked to join one once, and have hung around with a few. Plus, my son Matt has been in bands ever since he was at school, and certainly did and does think he might make it some day in the music biz.

Look at the picture: do you think that the Crickets, who came together in the mid-50s, ever thought they'd be playing the Floral Hall in Southport when they were old and grey? (Sonny Lewis, on the left, wasn't a Cricket originally but was associated with them and Buddy Holly back in the day; JI Allison and Joe B Mauldin are yeractual Crickets.)

So...did any of you anticipate a future in showbiz? And what happened?

The future is grim gremlinfc...

The top image is one of my fillum faves - it's from a poster for a fillum which deals with the future...
The second is yours truly ina fillum which got about the same reception as the novel it was adapted hat never quite fitted and that raight got me nerves. Here's the scores so far from me various posts:
1. FrogPrincess has 3 points (Matrix/Hannibal/ Sex Lies & Videotape)
2. DarceysDad 2 points (Dirty Harry / Barcelona Camp Nou)
3. Goronimmel 2 points (Capetown spot / Beautiful Mind)
4. TatankaYotanka 2 points (Poll Tax Riot spot / Gold Head sculpture in Jardins de Luxembourg)
it's all up for grabs...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Erm, did anyone know about this?

I was looking for an old 'Spill post, and thought I could maybe shortcut my search by a bit of straightforward googling. Found this instead and got a bit of a shock.


Though I no longer participate in the weekly RR circus I do usually scan through it and I particularly look forward to the off-topic themes that always develop, usually about noonish Sunday and they run through the week. It's the best part of the entire slog and I feel a kinship with many of the posters, and of course most of them live here also. This weeks discussion re. sci-fi lit; leading to Vonnegut, leading to Desden and WW2 with insightful contributions from gremlin,webcore and others relating pop music to Vonnegut et al.
This gave me an idea for a topic here..
I don't view the Spill as exclusively a music blog, for me it's a window into pop culture and contemporary life outside the US, there's much more here than pop music. I used to teach, my wife also teaches, world history to high school students, and she frequently brings specialty speakers to her classroom to give the students a wider understanding of the topics.
An aside, she was recently in trouble with the local muslim community, or at least with one member because they didn't approve of the Palestinian speaker she'd invited and in the past has had similar problems with the Jewish community also related to her inviting Palestinians.
But that's neither here nor there, back to pop culture, my idea was that were I a teacher in this, our hypothetical internet classroom,and I was teaching on the subject of popular culture past and present to adolescent students and I issued an invitation to any and all of you to be guest lecturers, giving you a total free hand to interpret 'pop culture' in anyway you choose and to discuss anything you wish on that topic: what would you choose to do? What to you reflects popular culture in all it's manifestations and what's worth talking about and how would you illustrate it?
Our hypothetical classroom is fully equipped with all media mod cons, you may use any format you choose to both present and illustrate your topic. You have one hour. We will need a theme, a rough outline and a list of the materials you would use. Anybody want to play this game and generate a bit of discussion?

'Spillharmonic Records is GO!

Well folks, due to the frankly quite staggering current total in the chipin widget, and to the fact that 58% chose 'Spillharmonic as the name for our record label, it's time for the next step!

Record label logo design!!

We can discuss ideas in the comments, or you can just go and design a few things and mail them to me via the sidebar contact link.
A democratic vote will then be taken to choose between the contenders, if need be.
Or, if you have an ace idea, but don't have the photoshop skills, then post your idea in the comments and I'm sure someone will pick it up and make it.

Let's do it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shoey's album of the Month - May

Was going to go with The Horrors, until I came across this piece of 80's nostalgia. Robin Guthrie (the plucker from the Cocteau Twins) has found someone else to sing some nonsense vocals to his tunes - none other than John Foxx of Ultravox. (remember his solo hit single "Underpants" from back in the day?). Here's a little taste:
& lest we forget:
The Spangle Maker

AOTW - Far East Family Band - Parallel World

Well, seeing as no-one else has, here's one i've had up my sleeve for a while.

Far East Family Band were formed in the early 1970's in Tokyo, with the band developing their esoteric and otherworldly sound around the nucleus of Fumio Miyashita in a sort of improvised commune on Miyashita's parents' farmhouse in the shadow of Mt. Fuji.

Released in 1976, this album was their fourth release and is a world away from the previous three (the others are more prog-rock than space-rock, but still well worth a listen). Recorded in England (Manor Studios - the birthplace of "Tubular Bells", no less) by a German producer, the acclaimed Krautrock producer and musician Klaus Schulze. "Parallel World" is a prime example of mid- 70's space-prog that occasionally tips over into cliche and self-indulgence and, for me at least, is all the better for it.

Julian Cope said: " Virtually without vocals, "Parallel World" occupied the kind of vast and eternal kosmiche space that only the greatest Krautrock albums had thus far commanded. Whatever crazy titles Miyashita would at a later date decide to impose on these tracks, Klaus had created one seamless and ever unfolding earth-shaking, occasionally skanking masterpiece".

I say: I always go back to this album if I get the flat to myself of an evening. The perfect soundtrack to a late night tipple that has the power to transport my mind to another realm for an hour or so.

Pull your best prog-cape over your knees pour a glass of port, kick back and enjoy!

Quite unbelievably, there doesn't seem to be a Wiki for them yet!

N.B. A quick note about the song titles. I've given the English titles that are on the record sleeve which mostly bear no resemblance at all to the Japanese ones. Also, track 2 is in two parts, but i've only given the one title to keep it simple. And the epic final track is broken down into 7 parts, which has seven song titles, but as they all blend into one i've just kept the main song name.

The Twelve Tasks Of ToffeeBoy #5 - Aztec Camera/Roddy Frame

Here we go again - nearly half way there - we've had our ups and downs and I've taken a few knocks along the road but I'm not giving up now. I remain bloody but unbowed.

Allow me, if I may, to remind you of the original premise of this series of posts; namely, to bring to your attention a number of ensembles or solo artistes who (which?) are heavily represented in the ToffeeBoy music collection but are notably under-represented on the RR A-list. The aim was to rectify this situation by bringing the artistes in question to your collective attention

To illustrate the point and at the same time to remind you of the acts selected so far, here's a list of those featured in Tasks 1-4 - the number in brackets being the number of times each act has appeared in the A-list so far:

1. Microdisney (0)
2. Everything But The Girl (2)
3. Coldplay (1)
4. Steely Dan (2)

Two of the five collective appearances have occurred in the past six months although I can't claim the credit for any of them but perhaps I'm getting somewhere with this!

For the fifth task, I've chosen Aztec Camera and I've allowed myself a little latitude by including Roddy Frame's post-1996 solo work - with the possible exception of the first two Aztec Camera albums, Aztec Camera was, to all intents and purposes, a Roddy Frame solo project anyway.

Aztec Camera burst onto the Scottish new wave scene in 1980 when Roddy Frame was just sixteen. Their first singles were released on the Postcard label in 1981 and two years later (now on Rough Trade) they released their debut album High Land, Hard Rain to huge critical acclaim - and a fair degree of commercial success. I've included three tracks from this album together with a fourth (the beautiful Orchid Girl) which appeared as a bonus track on the CD version.

After the success of High Land, Hard Rain, Aztec Camera were courted by a number of major labels and eventually signed for WEA, for whom they released a further five albums. I don't think too many would disagree with me if I said that the quality of the albums steadily decreased - in fact I don't even own the fifth WEA album, nor for that matter, the first of the solo albums so there's actually a nine year gap in the story here.

There are some highlights in this period: notably the UK hit single Somewhere In My Heart which reached number 3 in the Spring of 1988, and the gentle downbeat version of Van Halen's Jump which was released as the B-Side to the single All I Need Is Everything - and let's not forget Good Morning Britain - the heavily politicised duet with Mick Jones of The Clash.

The second solo album saw a dramatic change of direction - Surf is a largely acoustic set and it's undeniably a return to songwriting form. It features the track Small World which was used as the theme tune in the brilliant UK sitcom Early Doors. This is Roddy back to his very best - over twenty years on. A genuine musical coming of age if ever there was one.

The most recent solo album Western Skies was released in 2006, with two live albums bringing us almost up to date.

I always like to recommend an album but I'm going to break with tradition here and recommend two: High Land, Hard Rain and Surf.

Hope you enjoy the music - let me know what you think.A few links:
Wikipedia - Aztec Camera
Wikipedia - Roddy Frame
Fan site
Official site
Roddy's MySpace page

where people sit for hours...

God bless the cameraphone! I passed this "60's ballad and acoustic guitar" themed bar on my way home yesterday.

(if anyone can come up with something better than my extremely lame title...)

Let's talk about Socials, Baby

So that's what you look like!

So June is approaching, and plans for the next RR social seem to be stalling. Let's agree on a location and a date right here right now! 


Metal Guru, where are you? We've yet to meet the 3 that came next.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Canadian Work Ethic, Eh?

I've been having a bit of a Spotify session today (a Spotifasm?) and most of it has been based around two men.

I mentioned Wolf Parade in the Intro Quiz thread last week and they are fast becoming one of my very favourite bands. Formed, as legend has it, specifically as an act to open for Arcade Fire the band is mainly two men - Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner.

Not content with having one awesomely ambitious, plaudit-riddled band, though, each man also has a side project. For Krug it is the synth-washed, theatrical Sunset Rubdown. For Boeckner (and his wife) it is The Handsome Furs. The work ethic is strong with these two and each year an album has come from either Wolf Parade or a side project. This year, as it goes, is side project year.

I hadn't heard any Handsome Furs til my Spotifasm this afternoon (yeah, I think it works) wherein I fell in love with their new album, Face Control. The whole tight, simple and beautifully crafted thing is on there to enjoy but I wanted to give you a flavour of each project so here, for those who can hear it (apologies immediately to Shoey and anyone McAfflicted) is a small Spotify playlist that I have called Wolf Parade Etc. If Kissing the Beehive isn't your favourite song of all time by midnight tonight then I will understand it and just move on with my life, I suppose...

The new Sunset Rubdown is out in a couple of months, too, and I for one am VERY excited.


The futures so bright I gotta wear shanes.

I have a tremendous amount of nostalgia for what the future could of been...

here's Electric President, Pelle Carlberg and De Rosa to gently get you started:
Some Crap About The Future
Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?
from 'all the records on the radio are shite' b-side, another dose of Ballboy (good theme for them this.. then The Concretes and Husky Rescue (great name that!) fill the second slow section:
Building For The Future...
New Light Of Tomorrow
Brakes, Elvis Perkins, Slumber Party and Broken Spindles up the speed by at least 0000.1rpm!
Worry About It Later
I’ll Be Arriving
Sooner Or Later
To Die, For Death
How bloody chilled am I, what's that you say a roller skating jam named Saturday is it?
OKAY here's Fortran 5, Jimi Tenor, MGMT, Michael Franti & Spearhead and to top off the playlist Sparky Lightbourne... almost perky, no sign of pinky.
Look To The Future
Year Of Apocalypse
Future Reflections
The Future
I Laugh At My Tomorrows

What does the internet look like, you ask?

Friday, May 22, 2009


John the Revelator
Farther Along
Downpressor Man
The Man Comes Around
I Don't Wanna Grow Up
Someday Some Morning, Some Time
Ghost of Corporate Future
Here it Comes
13th Floor/Growing Old

A few tracks from Deltron 3030, but the whole album is in the box (TY TCM) if you want more.
Things You Can Do
Time Keeps on Slipping
Memory Loss
Love Story

We'll All be Identifiable from Space

A few of them have seen it, and it's not looking good, especially for Method Man (although he enjoys it) and the Violet one, who predicts a future with the systematic overthrow of the underclass and ponies flashing loaded pistols. Goodie Mob's outlook isn't that brighter actually, even the UN will be undertaking assassinations. Incognito are a big tease and don't tell us what they've actually seen.
On the more positive front, there's the Beach boys ever sunny classic, Gilberto Gil is on an express to the year 2222, those who've already been on it say the wheat shines endlessly, among other things. Big Daddy Kane gets all romantic, using the timeless line "if looks could kill, you'd be in jail". The Notations provide the soundtrack for what sounds like a sunny New Day. 

The Future
Day Is Dawning
Wouldn't It Be Nice
Expresso 2222
Stepping Into Tomorrow
Cell Therapy
Perfect World
Bright Tomorrow
The Day You're Mine
Everything's Gonna be Alright
A New Day
The Next Shit (Featuring Busta Rhymes)
I Can See The Future (Ski's Main Mix)
In Due Time
Paris (Aerolplane Remix)


These are last years crop, from top left: apricots, persimmons, Mayer lemons, greengages, damsons, tomatoes, a nice iris, HOT peppers, pluots.
Double click and they'll get bigger.

Since Gordon's cracked the barn door open with such an interesting 'herb' posting let's open it all the way and have a full-on gardening post, after all spring is here and all that! Here in California we had a worse than usual winter, it was cold from about late November 'til early March and then it rained, not monsoon but typical English style, steady for several days at a time. But then finally the sun broke through and it started getting warmer 'til now we've already had one 90 degree hot spell.
When we first bought this place I planted an orchard of about 20 odd apple trees, all heirlooms, mostly Europeans, every spring I've lost one or more and this spring there were 4 more dead apple trees. I don't know what's killing 'em, at one point I thought it was rodents stripping the bark at ground level so I wrapped 'em all in wire netting but they still died, it might be gopher tunnels exposing the roots to air pockets.
All my fruit trees have grafts on them, initially I did it with the idea of helping pollination but there's now other advantages, I've never seen Conference pears over here so I took a stem from my sisters tree and grafted it to my Comice and now it's bearing fruit; Conferences, right next to Comice, next to Bosc's also! I did similar with several UK apples, Grieves, Golden Cox and Egremont,
Regardless, I go through the same process every spring, I thoroughly dig and fertilise all the raised beds, ten in all. This year I tried something new, I rented a Mantis rotary tiller, it cost $35 for a day and I'd done everything in less than 3 hours! It would have taken me a week with a shovel. Marvellous tool, it really does a great job. I then fertilised every bed with a good dose of blood meal, bone meal and oyster shell, I do this every year and so far have been able to grow repeat crops in the same beds without any problems. This is only an issue because I like to grow a lot of varieties of tomatoes, this year I limited it to 22, last year it was 30 odd and they all grow on trellises fastened to the beds. In addition to those I've planted more hot peppers, a variety of oriental salad plants, lettuce, cucumbers, beets, leeks, potatoes, onions, squash, zuchini and several varieties of egg plants. There's still quite a bit of space so I'll be adding as we go. We also have several flower beds that take quite a bit of effort to keep weed free.
I have in addition to the apple trees quite a few other fruit trees and bushes, several pears, many plums; greengage, damson, Santa Rosa, elephant heart, French prunes, two cherries, two persimmons, apricots and a new species that's probably not available in UK yet, it's a pluot, plu-ot = a plum/apricot hybrid that's become very popular in California which is where it was developed about a dozen years ago. It's a fabulous tasting fruit, very sweet, spicy like an apricot and generally with very soft skins. I bought about six varieties and last year was a wonderful crop from all of them, I made lots of jams and preserves and gorged everyday. Beyond those we have grapes, red and black currents, gooseberries, raspberries and a small collection of citrus; lemons, limes and oranges. You might wonder how much fruit two people can eat, and you're probably right, I did over do it a bit, but Gina will retire and a few years and the plan then is that we'll get a stall at the farmers market and she'll sell fruit, jams and produce there a couple of days a week.
So that's my lot, I spend a fair bit of time out there every day, often with my iPod on, it's sometimes hard work but I enjoy it. What are all you other gardeners doing right now. What are you planting this year, any interesting new projects?


Spotify has gone!!! The latest upgrade to McAffee Virusscan has declared that it contains a virus, automatically deleted it and refused to countenance reinstalling it. Consensus on the web seems to be that this is a McAffee error rather than a genuine Trojan, but there seems to be nothing anyone can do until they issue a new update. I suppose it's good to know that my anti-virus programme is working automatically, but suddenly my morning is turned upside-down.

For more information, and perhaps the first news of a solution, see

Are We There Yet?

We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together
God Save The Queen
The Road Ahead
Essential Wear For Future Trips To Space
Ahead Of My Time
I Dream Of Wires
Rooms With Brittle Views
Time Travel Is Lonely
Yesterday's Tomorrows
The Dream Before
A Lesson For The Future, Farewell To The Old Ways
Future Days

England 2 Yugoslavia 0
Theme From Sparta FC

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Everyday I Write The Book

Just had a bit of a garage clear-out at the Castel Balearica and found this amongst Mrs BB's stash of books. Wasn't expecting much, but it's the one of the best books I've ever read about music. Incredibly funny and well-written, it charts the period of Nico's time in Manchester and the ramshackle, smack-heavy "world tour", in the eyes of her keyboardist, that they attempted to undertake before her death in 1988.

It prompted me to ask the question: what are your favourite books about (or related to) music?

Off the top of my head, mine would be...

Deborah Curtis: Touching From A Distance

Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Jon Savage: England's Dreaming

Paul Morley: Nothing

Kris Needs: Needs Must

John Lydon: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

Greil Marcus: Lipstick Traces

And you...?

Now I'll show you mine

Gremlin's post about the first album he bought got me thinking and then digging out my scrapbox from the attic, and I'm pleased to say it was still there - I'm referring to the notebook I nerdishly kept as a teenager in which I logged all the albums I bought. So as an act of self-exposure (and potentially embarrassment) here are the first 30 albums I ever bought.
The Kick Inside - Kate Bush
London Town - Wings
Out Of The Blue - ELO
Variations - Andrew Lloyd Webber
Sgt Pepper - Beatles
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
Classic Rock - London Symphony Orchestra
Lionheart - Kate Bush
War Of The Worlds - Jeff Wayne
Led Zeppelin IV
Imagine - John Lennon
In The Wake Of Poseidon - King Crimson
Discovery - ElO
Abbey Road - Beatles
Yn Erbyn Y FFactore - Edward H
Led Zeppelin III
Tumbleweed Connection - Elton John
In Through The Out Door - Led Zeppelin
Join Hands - Siouxsie & The Banshees
Force Majeure - Tangerine Dream
Replicas - Tubeway Army
Drums And Wires - XTC
Selling England By The Pound - Genesis
Metal Box - PIL
Walls And Bridges - John Lennon
London Calling - The Clash
Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
Fear Of Music - Talking Heads
Armed Forces - Elvis Costello

So there we have it - crazy mixed up kid or suitable case for treatment, you decide.

And there are poor kids going without movies in Africa

Afraid that you'll miss something critical if you need to run to the toilet during a film? Website RunPee is like a friend who's seen every flick out there and knows when the bathroom break moments are. Clicking on your movie (presumably on your smartphone and without getting beat up by the guy next to you) gives you the various timing points and narrative cues to head to the toilet. Choose a break point, and the top box explains what will happen next.

He'll put you in debt!

3 Week head start!

A swift game of two halves on Sunday for the first winner of the UNI-DOND League.

I Hate Football
Kirsty MacColl- England 2 Columbia 0

The Big Match - Live!

We join Elton Welsby in the Big Match studio, who gives us this report:

"With only one round of fixtures remaining, the top of the Guardian/RR Unidond League Table sponsored by Tena Lady could not be tighter.

After a mammoth season of disinterested tinkering, we enter the final weekend with nowt but a blanket covering the top three who stand, at present, as follows:

1. Snadfrod's Dinamo Splodge, on 4173 points,
2. Sane City FC doing Shane proud on 4123 points,
3. Darcey County keeping their title hopes alive on 4104.

Just behind the big three, gordonimmel's Carinthinans are hoping for a miracle on 3951 and Offer Fox Ache FC complete the Europa League spots with 3831.

Clearly, this title race may well go to the wire and the eventual winner will FULLY DESERVE his as yet unspecified prize.

Down at the bottom the relegation issue is a little clearer with Tin's RR Reserves a brave 2000 points away from the safety of 14th. An awesome effort by a team who play some nice stuff but, ultimately, haven't played that often. Plus they had Nery Castillo who was utter, utter bobbins.

It's going to be huge. Back to you, Ray."

So there you have it. It all comes down to this. Trash talk, anyone?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

E.O.T.W.Q.6 - or 'Love Goes Where My Rosemary Grows'

1. The grounds here at Schloss Immel are not very substantial infact some may say they're nothing more than an oversized back yard. Nonetheless, we have enough space for a little herb garden (pictured) which provides a nice variety of greens throughout the summer and dried herbs throughout the winter. So, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE (EDIBLE!!) HERB.
Oh, and extra prizes (a virtual bouquet garni) for identifying any of the herbs in my garden.

2. The Grand Entrance Hall at Schloss Immel is bedecked with photographs of various world locations that either myself or frauimmel (or both of us) have been to on our travels. So, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOREIGN CAPITAL CITY? I'll be generous and allow former capital cities which aren't neccesarily the administrative capital now (i.e. Amsterdam, St. Petersburg etc.)

3. I love history and geography. So, IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME JUST ONCE, WHICH ERA AND PLACE WOULD YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO TO OBSERVE? Ever-so-Worthy comments about going back to prevent some major disaster will lose points! You're meant to go back to have fun!


5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST PERSONAL SPORTING ACHIEVEMENT? It does have to be something you've done yourself (so cheering on Liverpool from the sofa doesn't count) but it doesn't have to be winning cups or trophies. Running for the bus without collapsing in a wheezing heap does count if that's the best you've ever done.

At last!

I recently upgraded my PC to Ubuntu 9.04 and in the process Flash stopped working.

I couldn't use iPlayer, YouTube, Last fm or listen to tracks people were posting here.#

I found a work around for YouTube but the rest were still buggered. I din't have the time to do the job properly so I left it for a while.

However, last night I did do the job properly and plunged into the entrails of Linux, did some research, wrote a few scripts, removed the offending bits that were causing Flash to not work, downloaded and installed Flash 10 and now EVERYTHING WORKS properly again.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No ... more . . . music ! It's all too much, my head hurts!!

Wilco & Billy Bragg, Kip Hanrahan, The Go-Betweens, spaceface, k-os, Mad Season, N.A.S.A., Graham Parker, Truly, American Music Club ... and that's just THIS WEEK! 
Spotify playlists, DropBox playlists, at least five 'Spillcasts never played yet, Shoey & Shane's regular treasure-trove 'Spill threads, nine bought CDs still in their cellophane, six magazine covermount CDs still mounted to the covers, and tincanman converting three years worth of download albums for me from filetypes my PC would never play before . . . .


Please people, I need a rest. I don't want to appear rude, or bite the hands that feed me (particularly tincanman: a public Thank You to you for the .ogg & .mpc solutions), but can I beg some forgiveness in advance? If I don't comment, I'll admit it's probably because I haven't listened, but that DOESN'T MEAN I DON'T WANT TO, OK? I'm feeling particularly guilty that I just can't get to Nilpferd/ToffeeBoy's Grant McLennan labour of love, but there's only so many listening hours in a day.

I love the lot of you, but even I'm cracking under the strain ... I haven't even started on my George Thorogood "revision" yet, ahead of next week's concert.

Woody Allen feat. Larry David?

Memorial post of the week- G.W. Mclennan

Toffeeboy floated the idea of doing a memorial post to ex Go-Between Grant Mclennan, who tragically died on May 6, 2006 of a heart attack, at the tender age of 48.
Mclennan had a rural upbringing in Queensland, Australia and co-founded the Go-Betweens with Robert Forster in 1977; after the break-up of the band in 1989 Mclennan began a solo career and also co-operated with The Church's Steve Kilby in Jack Frost, before reforming the Go-Betweens in 2000 with Forster for a successful series of tours and albums.
Between us we've selected a representative playlist, so here is our tribute to G.W. Mclennan, ordered roughly chronologically, and spanning his entire career.

Nilpferd's selection:
With the Go-betweens:
Cattle and cane
Captures perfectly the drowsiness of a warm summer day in a farming town, coupled with the hidden thrills of anticipating imminent adulthood.
Bachelor Kisses
Often there's a hard edge to his lyrics, but this is one of Mclennan's most empathetic songs, offering solace to a female friend unlucky in love. The ringing guitars and backing vocals brim over for the chorus.
Bye Bye Pride
Probably Mclennan's most perfectly realised song, this one has everything, from Amanda Brown's oboe to Mclennan's timeless lyrics, the stand-up-tall chorus and sublime playout.
Streets of your town
Brilliantly bittersweet, a perfectly breezy piece of pop- until the lyric kicks in with butcher's knives and battered wives.
As a solo artist:
Haven't I been a fool
Mclennan's first solo album kicked off with a couple of wry, Dylanesque tunes- this one blends a nice line in self deprecation with a toe tapping, country inflected beat and some twanging acoustic guitar.
Haunted House
Ethereal, and beautiful. Some of his best guitar work married to an achingly vulnerable vocal. The track of his which most readily brings a lump to my throat.
Easy come, easy go
His best solo single, irrepressible and upbeat. This one always gets Mara dancing around the room.
Surround me
Mclennan developed a more defiant tone in his second solo album, without losing his talent for wordsmithery or vulnerable sincerity. This was the single, oddly offbeat but still full of invention and energy.
Dark side of town
I think the side of Mclennan's songwriting best featured in his solo career was his ballad writing, and this is an exquisite heartbreaker, with perhaps his best vocal performance.
Perhaps too personal, but I relied on this song for a while, so it has a place in my heart. Poignant, in the light of Mclennan's too early death.

Toffeeboy's selection:
A couple of years ago I made a Grant McLennan memorial CD for my brother – it had 17 tracks on it and six of those 17 were chosen by nilpferd above. So I’ll add the other 11 here:

The Wrong Road
Taken from my favourite Go-Betweens album (Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express), this is probably my favourite McLennan lyric. Every verse is full of original, thoughtful and beautiful imagery. So many great lines to choose from but “Started out Oliver, ended up Fagin” probably just wins it for me.
Palm Sunday (On Board The SS Within)
A joyful pop song in the best McLennan traditions – complete with a rousing chorus that lifts you out of your seat.
Right Here
Ditto. One of only two Go-Betweens tracks to trouble the singles charts – the other being The Streets Of Your Town – and even then they only razed the lower reaches at 82 and 80 respectively. Should have been a worldwide smash!
You Won’t Find It Again
Taken from the 1978-1990 Go-Betweens compilation album (probably the best Best Of ever released) and if I could be bothered to walk upstairs, I’d have a look at the CD and tell you what it was originally released on. [previously unissued- Ed.] Gorgeous acoustic thingy.

Then we have the solo years which nilpferd has already covered superbly so I’ll skip on to the reunion years:

Magic In Here
Another lovely plaintive melody – sounds like a very personal lyric.
Orpheus Beach
A slow builder – stay with it.
Going Blind
One of the most upbeat starts to a song that you’ll ever hear. Like one of David Beckham’s penalties, it starts up and just keeps going in the same direction.
Crooked Lines
Without doubt the best song he ever wrote. Musical and lyrical perfection. Athens or Sparta? What do you think Abahachi?
Unfinished Business
A tragically pertinent title and another beautiful song – it’s difficult to listen to it knowing what we know and not shed a tear or two.
No Reason To Cry
Almost seems like the answer to the above song – but, of course, he didn’t know …
The Statue
A taste of what was to come and an encapsulation of everything that’s been stolen from us.

Grant McLennan – 1958-2006 RIP

Hanging by a thread

Inspired tonight to post the above. Meant to do this for some time actually.

The first time I saw American Music Club was at the Princess Charlotte pub in Leicester in 1989. I saw them again a number of times, especially in the early nineties and still look back on those gigs with a mixture of complete and undiluted awe and numbing puzzlement as to why they were not simply embraced by every right thinking music fan as the last great band - and of course selfishly grateful that they were not.

There's so little film available of that precious period in the band's trajectory when they were not only completely and utterly on fire, but also still had an energy about them which always dissipates slightly with maturity. This film of 'Gratitude Walks' was near the end of that time, but it still holds me like I were a rabbit in headlights.

Please tell me, as a representative group of music lovers - put me out of my misery once and for all - what was it about AMC which failed so spectacularly to set light to the whole world?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Take That? Take What? It's all rubbish, says gremlinfc...

My god I am so sick of technology - it takes me ages to crack summat and I feel like i've really achieved summat and then another exciting innovation comes along and it's back to the drawing board and feeling like an idiot again! Aaaaargh it's rubbish! Bloody smiley icons ? Rubbish!
Answerphones, they're rubbish...people who've got them don't know what side of the bed they're buttered on...Rubbish, absolute rubbish...Holidays they're rubbish, go on holiday abroad, it's rubbish, you stay here and have a holiday and that's rubbish.

Spillovision 2009: We don't suck as much

Not being native, I'm not sure why anyone would want to win a competition that encourages bad music, over the top performances and corrupt judges. No no, not Olympic figure skating - Eurovision.

But, ok, if it is important, surely the Spill is best placed to conduct an honest and fair one.

So nominate a Eurovision-style act (= cheesy) to represent your place of birth (youtube links needed) and maybe we can talk Blimpey into doing one of his sidebar polls for us toward the end of the week. Nominate as many as you like.