Friday, November 14, 2003

Neave was born yesterday at 12.45, weighing 7,11 and a half and she is absolutley gorgeous. poor Rachel had a hard time of it 19 hours of labour and then she still had to have a section. It was unbelievable ,that moment when Mary the midwife handed Neave to me for the first time, covered in blood trying so hard to open those lovely eyes, Rachel reckons her nose is from me, her lips are definatley Rachels's, her hair at the moment is fair, she's got really skinny legs and feet like her Aunty Esther. Esther and Tony, Norman and me Mam and Dad came in to hospital last night to see her and they all loved her, Esther as expected was the most excitable. took plenty of photos, so she didn't grew up and wonder what she looked like when she was a baby, me Mam reckons she looks just like me when I was born, shame there are no photos to compare with..She didn't have anything to eat yesterday but has started to latch on a little bit today. Norman came in this afternoon to see her so did Hiedi and her mam Yvonne who bought allsorts for Neave, toys, clothes and a feeding plate and they are all lovely. Only Esther came to see her tonight so it was a much quiter night. I hate not being able to be with them all day can't wait for them to both come home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Rachel went to hospital for her 38 week check at the hospital yesterday and she had high blood pressure, they thought the baby wasn't growing enough and that the placenta wasn't working properly. They were wrong about the last 2 but she still had a scan and the midwife was 100% certain that it was a girl, so we can forget about boys name now and just concentrate on girls names! Esther had Naomi saying Grace, Neve, Hope and Banana (Rhianna) on the phone tonight and they all sounded spot on apart from Banana! Rachel is going to have her blood pressure checked tomorrow, if it's still high she might have to go to hospital and they may induce her.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Two weeks to go and if the dates are correct there could be a little baby in the house. Names decided so far for a boy are Nathan, Nathaniel, Isaac and Aaron. If it's a girl we have got Fay, Neve, Grace, Rhianna and Hope.

Monday, August 18, 2003

love's going out of fashion

Lots of new stuff i want to write about but first need to mention Waterbomb! the Biff!Bang!Pow! compilation CD that has just been released on Rev-Ola. BBP were a band I came across by accident, well almost by accident, I knew Alan McGee was the manager of the Mary Chain and I'd seen the 7" of Love's Going Out Of Fashion in Volume in Newcastle one Saturday morning and really like the cover so I went and bought it blind, when I got home and played it and that 12 string lead guitar came out my speakers I was hooked, it was another one of those songs that I would get angry about , I was so naive not being able to comprehend why songs this good were' not treasured by everyone.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

riding along on your push bike honey

The hottest day ever and me and my sister-in-law decided to go for a bike ride after work, our best so far, no great distance but nice all the same. After I went and picked her up we came straight back the way I had just rode down to her house, then we came past what used to be the burmah garage but has recently been taken over by total, we joined the cycle path past the roundabout and headed towards the railway station, Esther suggested we have a ride along the the tracks up to Shildon, so we found our way onto a gravel path which we thought was the path running along the railway lines but turns out to be a path leading to some sort of quarry type thing, so we had to jump over a ravine chuck the bikes over a fence and jump over it so that we ended up on the path we originally wanted to be on, we rode for a while it was nice and peaceful. the scenery to the right was really nice , the fields of wheat were golden and I know it would spoil them but they really needed someone to run through them just for the fun of it. i'm going to take my digital camera next time and take some snaps. We reached tanias bridge, which we thought might be the one near Middridge and as time was getting on and we'd both said we wouldn't be out more than a hour we decided to save going all the way to Shildon until next time,we took a detour at the bridge, rode down the lane past the farms, no dogs attacked us. Said hello to Norman and dashed back to Aycliffe, apparently I got a puncture and thats why we were later than we said we would be.
summer field 2

Monday, July 21, 2003

I finally succumbed and bought myself a DVD player the other day, I've been avoiding it but there does seem to be loads of stuff available that I'd really like to see, so I went for it. One of my first purchases was 24 Hour Party People, I meant to go to the pictures to see it but never got around to it. I enjoyed the film, very happy/sad, especially the Joy Division bits , after watching it I went into the kitchen and got a big bowl of rice krispies for my supper and thought to myself that I could never have been a popstar, I just wouldn't have enjoyed that drug fuelled lifestyle. I thought today that when I got in from work that I would want to have a listen to Atmosphere or Lazyitis but instead I reached for my Talulah Gosh 12"'s ,which I have never listened to for years and they sounded quite refreshing after all this time.

Friday, July 18, 2003

When we lived at 184 Tindale Green and my Mam and Dad wanted a little time on their own without me and my two sisters getting on their wick, we would get chucked into the dining room to play records and dance around madly. We used to love it, being able to play whatever we wanted to, on the whole I think we thought the record collection was fairly good ,there was The Beatles Sgt Pepper with the cardboard cut out moustache and badges that we were warned never to cut out because one day they'd be worth a bit, surpisingly we never did cut them up because they are still fully intact to this day. There was some solo Beatles stuff that we used to play I really liked "My Sweet Lord" and Ringo's "It don't come easy" I also sometimes dared to play the b-side of "Imagine" that had shock!horror! swearing on it . There was some Elvis LP's but my Dad's favourite was Buddy Holly and there was loads of his LP's to choose from, the one that seemed to have all the really good songs on was called the Buddy Holly story and I bought a CD copy of it yesterday to see if was as good as I remember and it was, you don't get to hear much Buddy Holly on the radio these days, not that I listen to much radio these days, I must be getting old, most Radio 1 DJ's just annoy me, when I was still going to work in my car I had turned to Radio 2 and Terry Wogan, he even plays the Polyphonic Spree. The Buddy Holly songs are I guess by todays standards quite simply structured, there isn't a great deal going on but the tunes are incredible, I haven't heard these songs for years yet I found myself singing along word perfect, my memory isn't that good , it must be the songs being so unforgettable.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

We have just had the hottest June since 1976, but I feel as if i've just caught a cold in the middle of winter, I've got a sore throat, all my bones and muscles are aching, my teeth are aswell ,I just can't get warm and now my head is bouncing. Just spent the whole evening scouring my old cd back-ups for an old song that I wanted to do a new version of but i've given up , it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Time for bed I think.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

like sand gleaming through a silver wave

I really should come clean and declare that I used to be in a band with Marc from the Liberty Ship , no crime in itself but I thought I should mention it before I give my completely unbiased opinion on the bands new mini-lp on sunday ...small lives. Ever since we went our seperate ways I've harboured a grudge agains Marc, I truly believe that all the time that he was in bulldozer crash with me he was writing songs but saving all the really good ones for his next band who turned out to be the liberty ship. Exihibit A ..... cabin fever with the ghost of East Village hanging all over it, rickenbackers and 12 strings abound, that chiming sound could have inspired a thousand fanzines , but no one really writes proper paper zines any more ,maybe it's time people did, I used to love it when a new one would drop though my letterbox, maybe everyone just got too old to write them, it was quite strange that everyone stopped writing them at the same time, can we blame the internet? I'm a right one to talk though seeing as it must be well over 12 years since I wrote a proper fanzine. I remember it was quite a thrill getting 1000 copies printed....mind you, it's not so thrilling now that I've still got 850 left in the loft. Back then I thought I was doing something worthwhile, I thought I was intelligent and clever because I could write a fanzine and get 150 people to buy it. I thought I was being different. I thought I could change people lives by inspiring them to listen to and maybe even buy music with my own words. I used to buy loads of records some I'd never heard before, inspired by other fanzine writers to get them no matter what. Thankfully I didn't make too many mistakes, maybe I was just lucky enough to trust the right people, I just hope I didn't get people to waste money on records I'd recommended to them and for them to find them a dissapointment. These days one of the places I visit on a regular basis for recommendations is Tangents , Alistairs' blog also inspired me to do this one , so if you haven't been before have a look.

her face so soft in the dark but her kiss like a sunny day

A band that have been one of my favourites for quite a few years, recorded about 20 odd songs and I've only got them on a battered old tape .(Actually I've now put them onto cd-r , two discs that follow the same tracklist as the tape, I had too before the tape finally snapped!) They are called the Big Scientists a band from Derby, who are/were one of the best undiscovered synth pop bands ever, inspired mostly I reckon by kraftwerk, human league, and early depeche mode (while vince clarke was still with them.)The tape I have still makes me smile when I play it, whilst at the same time it saddens me because it's got songs on it that would have been hits at the time if they had been released on say a label like mute or some bizarre or virgin or emi. The songs aren't just bleepy synthy type songs they have some truly glorious melodies that you instantly fall for like the first girl/boy you kissed you just can't help yourself, you instinctively know they are good, and thats all within the first ten seconds of every song. Some of my favourite moments in pop are on this tape .They nearly all seem to be bittersweet songs, the music bounces along like the happiest day of your life but when you listen to the words on most occasions it's the total opposite.... quite dark songs of let downs, heartbreak ,racial hatred , love and tears. Every time I play it I hear so many beautiful sounding moments that I just wish someone somewhere would release them so everyone could enjoy them, it seems a bit daft writing about songs that aren't even available for public consumption but this might just be the start of my attempt to get them released , even online somewhere would be nice. The last song on the tape is a song called "White Town". Wasn't that the name of another band from Derby who had a number one record? Actually one of the songs whenever i say hello has just been released on the American NinthWaveRecord labels latest compilation CD Electricity 2, it's a new version that Jyoti has released under the White Town name but sounds just as good as the original, if no-one will release the Big Scientists versions maybe we can persuade Jyoti to re-record them all as White Town? In my best Mrs Doyle voice from Father Ted ..... "oh, go on ,go on , go on".

Thursday, June 26, 2003

i'm gonna walk up the side of the mountain then walk down the other side of the mountain

It was my 36th birthday on Monday, I had the day off work, I think I always do when it's my birthday, not really sure why, I never really do much, just spend it on my own, usually buying myself the presents I wish other people had bought me , how ungrateful is that?. In my twenties I used to feel like I was getting so old when it was my birthday but these days it doesn't seem to bother me ....bring on the mid-life crisis! I did get one really good present ,R bought me Grandaddy's new l.p. Sumday which on the first few listens seems better than "the sophtware slump", sometimes the guitars remind me of the Lavender Faction ,sometimes the vocals remind me of the Boo Radleys and sometimes the synth sounds remind me of Daft Punk . I didn't think a band with beards could sound as good as this, well except for the Beatles just before they split.

With some of my birthday money I went and bought myself some waterproofs for when I go to work on my bike, ain't nothing worse than getting soaked to the skin before you've even done a days work, it's not so bad on the way back , I can handle getting wet then, I might be tempting fate though because we've been having some gorgeous sunshine summer weather lately , 26 degrees apparently in the North East today. Riding my bike is all part of my new trying to get fit campaign, I've started doing sit ups and press ups aswell, maybe that mid-life crisis is just around the corner? The bike ride is only 4 miles there and back but it's got to get me a little bit fitter, I've even been going out riding on an evening with my sister-in-law, not that we get very far before she's got a stitch. I've been doing it for about 4 weeks now and I do feel better for it. Everyone should get on their bikes, stop driving those cars.

Not only was Monday my birthday but it was also the official release date for Slipslide's debut album The world can wait on Matinée. The main man in Slipslide is Graeme Elston, who I have known since he was 17 and in a band called The Very Dabs, who I thought were the bees knees the first time I saw them playing live at the Broken Doll in Newcastle back in 1989, Total Pop Experience! He's since gone through a host of band names ....the Love Parade,Pure and Eva Luna, releasing pearl after pearl after pearl. Wouldn't it be nice if some label did a compilation of all those bands releases, so we can have them all in one place? At last he's managed to record a full l.p. of songs, which I've been waiting god knows how long for, it was certainly worth the wait though, if only for the last track "the world can wait" which apparently nearly didn't make it onto the record, imagine if that had had happened , we would have been deprived of possibly his best song yet, a great combination of the orchids, sugargliders and edwyn collins all at their very best. Listen to it, sing along to it and fall for it , just like I do everytime it's on, soundtrack to my summer.

While the sun was in the sky today I laid on my back looking up at the clouds trying to find something in them, me and Susan Robinson used to do it when we were kids I can remember we once saw an elephant, I even wrote a short story about it, no elephant clouds today though but I swear puff the magic dragon was up there. Everyone should lie on their backs on the grass and find something in the clouds at least once a week in the summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

come up and see me make me smile

At the risk of turning this into a diary I've suddenly got the urge to type something so apologies if this turns out boring .... It's been a bank holiday weekend over here in England so I've just been lazing about doing not a lot really. Friday night was spent trying to get Geoff's computer up and running, finally gave up at 12:15, I'm hoping he's persevered so that he can have a recording studio at home and hopefully be able to work on some kosmonaut songs on his own so that we might finally get around to recording our l.p. for firestation tower records.

Saturday night I got a little drunk on alco-pops and cider at my sister-in-laws, woke up with a bad head for the first time in ages.

Watched far too much big brother.

Went shopping in Newcastle today, bought a mobile phone, just for emergencies ,the one that can u dig it is used on the advert for. I also bought some records.... the cream of cockney rebel whose See me smile(come up and see me) would be in my top 100 list , infact I'll start my list today, so in no particular order....

100. Cockney Rebel See me smile (come up and see me)

I'll add to list as and when they come to me. It was only £3.99 in the HMV sale . I also bought suede dog man star for £4.99 , I'm sure I'll have a suede song in my top 100, just not quite sure which at the moment, the wild ones is todays favourite. My last purchase was a recommendation the postal service give up, all synth pop, happy tunes but sad lyrics, I haven't listened to it yet, saving it until tomorrow when I get in from work.

Went for a bike ride tonight only did a few miles but haven't been out since last Wednesday so was a bit red in the face when I got back, if it's not raining in the morning I'll be off to work on it aswell, I'm currently on a get fit kick, not sure how long it's going to last though.

I've got a couple of music reviews to fine tune and then I'll post them up , one is for the folk beat combo the liberty ship's 6 track on sunday and the other is for a C90 cassette of synth pop classics from the big scientists.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

we were happier than either of us knew

Since I 'retired' from writing my fanzine every now and again a gem of a song would come to my attention and I'd think I would definately have to write some words about it so maybe some other people would fall in love with it too, well this is one of them.....I know this record has been out for some time now but maybe there are still some folks in the world who have yet to have the pleasure of falling hook, line and sinker for the lucksmiths ""requiem for the punters club" on matinée. If your one of those poor unfortunate souls please think of this as a gentle push and shove in the direction of a love at first sight. I had heard some of the bands earlier released stuff on matinée and if anyone was to tie me up and force me to pick one I would have to admit that the lucksmiths were probably my favourite band on the label. The songs I had already heard brought images of singing on porches under dusty australian sunsets into my mind the same way songs by the Sugargliders used to, I guess it's the sound of those gorgeous acoustic guitars and the way they sound so laidback , even on the faster songs. Well "requiem for the punters club" is like that too, starting kinda slowly with a tune that I actually remember wanting to sing the very first time I heard it even though I didn't have a clue what to sing. Sometimes I wish I could play harmonica especially something as sad and yearning as the harmonica solo in the middle of this . For me though the greatest part of the song is saved for the end where everyone joins in for a one of those inpirational singalongs, you know the type I mean? Like at the end of arab strap's "hey!fever" , another song I would have written about if I'd still be a fanzine writer at the time it came out, that drum machine beat, scottish hip-hip vocals,hammond organ and finally that everyone join in at the end finale...."went out for the weekend , it lasted forever, got high with my firends's officially summer".

Monday, May 19, 2003

firecracker in the night

My favourite band of this last week has got to be the simple carnival . I was first alerted to them by Mark a regular on the indie pages forum ,which is quite surpsing in itself because he usually only listens to bands who are from New Zealand. Anyway they are a melodic pop music studio project created by a guy named Jeff Boller who must be the long lost son of Brian Wilson if the MP3's on the bands web site are anything to go by. "North Star" is full of those multi-tracked harmonies that are found on all those Beach Boy classics, it's a song to make you smile, starting off with some nice acoustic guitar and vocals, then we've got that tight bouncy bass sound as found on Good Vibrations , with splashes of words about firecrackers and raindrops, then we are fooled into thinking that the song must be ending with a fade-out and to be perfectly honest the song is already a favourite if it were to finish there and then but we are treated to some eerie backward(?) sounds that fade-in and we find ourselves back in California circa 1966 and I should apologise before I say this ....because I know it's probably the most obvious thing to say... but this song could quite easily slide onto the end of Pet Sounds.... it might also fit onto The Zombies "Odessey and Oracle" without a murmur from anyone. Handclaps, BaBaBa-Baaas, Rainfall Fx what more could you want? Check out the bands web site for more info and about five MP3's that you should download asap. No records released so far , and I'm really not sure why when the quality is this good?

Saturday, May 17, 2003

I have been meaning to start writing a fanzine for ages but never seem to get the time to sort it out so I thought that this might be a nice easy way to do it. So here goes...................

It was a very long time ago when I sat down at my brand new electric typewriter and wrote my last fanzine , it was a mini zine called Fresh Air I only had a 100 printed, it was my best seller,they all sold out! Thatcher resigned the week that I wrote it, I was overjoyed. It seems strange that back then I never thought I would ever see a Labour Prime Minister, stranger still that I hate the one we've got easily as much as Thatcher. Fresh Air #1 was the only thing I ever wrote on that typewriter, now it's collecting dust in the loft with lots of other stuff that meant a lot to me back then. I just seemed to lose that urge to write about music , I partly blame making music for that, yes it is really enjoyable but in a way it has also spoilt my listening pleasure to a certain extent aswell. Any other music makers out there feel the same? Now that I've been in recording studios and I know how songs are pieced together ,I listen far to intently to a song. Listening for bass drum sounds and what kind of effect is on the guitars, instead of just listening to the song. Sometimes though a song is just too overwhelming and I hear the song and nothing else..... then I take it to bits later! Anyway hopefully this site will be about those songs that I hear as songs first and construction sites second.

So what have I been up to since that first issue so long ago I don't hear anyone ask but I'll tell you anyway.... I've aged quite a bit (nearly 36) gone a bit bald, been happy, been sad and been whatever you call it in between. Mostly though I've just been muddling along doing nothing of any great importance, does anyone feel any better than this when they are 35 ? Never quite achieving what they wanted to when they were younger?

"I wish I was young again when I knew everything" (© kevin pearce )

I once thought that I did know everything but as I've got older I've realized I didn't have a clue and people must have thought of me as a right tit , having said that I'm not much better now. Back then I thought I was doing something important when I joined CND or went on an anti poll tax march ,wow , not exactly changing the world kind of stuff , but I thought it might help. Now though I seem to be increasingly becoming the sort of person I used to hate, rushing to work so I'm never late. Not doing stuff I know I really should like going on anti-war marches. Apart from going to work, (I'm a painter and decorator, I'm not knocking it, I just didn't think when I was 16 I would still be doing it 19 years later.) I don't really do anything just sit and either listen to music or sit in my spare room trying to make it. I'm not having a great deal of success at it though , well I'm running out of addresses of labels to send it to. I really should take the hint, I sometimes do , I think what's the point of taking bloody ages over a song that no-one is ever going to hear let alone get the chance to like. I decide enough is enough and leave it all alone for at least half a day, but then something lures me back to it, I try and convince myself that I'm not making music for anyone else it's just for me and if anyone else like it well thats a bonus. What a load of bollocks, I want other people to hear it and like it maybe I need to know that... yes I am good at something... and it's something I like doing. Maybe I'm just not very good at it. If you'd like to make your own mind up about that you can have a listen to some of my music the northern_electrix web site.

"I thought I would have been famous by now"

I did , I really really did, it's not just me that is a little pissed off about it though, my younger sister isn't too happy , when she was about 12 I said to her that she'd be alright , she wouldn't need to get a job she could run my fan club instead, needless to say we haven't had a need to set one up! I suppose there is still plenty of time though, I guess what it comes down to is that all I really want is to get out of painting but I want it to be so easy and pain less. I did think that when I bought my first computer back in 1995 , that this was going to be my big break away , I'd teach myself how to use it and get a job in computing , didn't matter what it was, data entry work would be a million times better than painting council properties out in the middle of winter when your so cold that you can't even clench your fingers round the paint brush properly. (If anyone has read "the ragged trousered philanthropists" byrobert tressell? Let me just say the working conditions haven't changed too drastically from that!) Sorry back to my future in computers ... well so far I have tried my hand at web site design, it wasn't a success! I tried my hand at a little computer art , designing splash screens for software, I even got some accepted and used. My favourite and the most time consuming one alas didn't get used , but I was given a free copy of the software which almost made up for it. My last mad idea came about when I tore my cartilage at work and was laid up for a few weeks, to while away the hours I decided to have a go at creating my own sample CD for the Yamaha A series samplers. Anyway I have sampled my synths and created what I think are some amazing sounds and loops , the CD is finished and called "Synthetic Treasures" it got a mention in Future Music so far I have sold zero copies! Another roaring success!

"fahn, fahn, fahn"

A few years ago a friend asked me if I liked kraftwerk and without really thinking about it I said "yes , I like them a lot" when infact I hadn't really heard a great deal by them, I'd bought "the model/computer love" on 7" when it was number 1 in about 1980 and somewhat strangely I liked the way they seemed more like robots that humans, but I'd never really paid the attention attention they deserved at the time. Then Amazon came along and I found out how easy it was to buy up their back catalogue , so that's what I did, well almost , a couple of the early ones are out of print at the moment, so my kraftwerk collection starts with "Autobahn". The title track just goes on on and on but I still don't want it to ever stop, it shifts all over the place, a vocoder has never sounded so sweet , apart from all those toffee apple and candy floss melodies , played on all sorts of instruments not only synths, the flute is my favourite, is that guitar on there too? At the risk of seeming like I'm bypassing everything else in between I have to say that I thought that "Expo 2000" is as good as anything from the past it's kraftwerk, nothing more nothing less.

Another band with a kraftwerk connection is yamo, it is the band/project started by ex-kraftwerk person Wolfgang Flur. I first heard about about them when Future Music ran a re-mix competition with their song "Mosquito" ( I did a re-mix myself but never sent it in). I've got what I think is the bands first CD "Time Pie" which sounds at times like kraftwerk but with a lot more added to the canvas, the songs aren't cluttered but they seem to have a lot more going on in them, favourites are the title track, "mosquito" which is easily as good as the northern_electrix re-mix! . "Stereomatic" which drifts through the air like angel dust. Best for me though is "Guiding Ray" an electro marychain/velvets kind of song. Wolfgang had never wrote any songs while in Kraftwerk but as soon as he left it would seem that they have just started flowing out of him quite naturally.

I've also just finished reading Wolfgang Flur's brilliant book "I was a robot" , which is a must read for any music fan . The book is written with such honesty, you will never think of Krafwerk the same way again. There are quite a few laughs in the book, especially the time Wolfgang explains what he was doing when he first heard "My Generation" by the Who, but it also has sad undertones which may leave you feeling dissapointed with the remaining members of krafwerk.