This blog is one year old

Yes, it’s a year since I started blogging.

Many thanks to all those people who have encouraged me, commented on my posts and been generally supportive.

You know who you are.

And to the cunt who called me a cunt – I know who you are and where you live and work, too…

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Ladybird madness!

I’ve seen ladybirds hibernating before – usually singly, and occasionally in pairs – but never in clusters.

Here’s 16 of them, all huddled together on the side of the capstone on top of the churchyard gate pillar outside my house:

Mariah, miasma and melisma

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One of the delights of being a musician is that you get to learn all sorts of interesting terms for various concepts and techniques.

Melisma is one such term and refers to singing a single syllable and protracting it over a series of changing musical notes.

(As opposed to ‘Miasma’ with which it can share certain qualities as I’ll demonstrate later…)

The word ‘me’, for example, could be sung over three notes as ‘me-e-e’.

One of the best-known examples is probably in the Christmas carol ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ in which the ‘o’ sound in ‘Gloria’ is strung out over 4 bars and some 30 notes:

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It’s a legitimate technique when composing and performing and is used in all sorts of music including pop, jazz, blues and rock.

However, like all techniques it can be overused and one of the chief culprits is Mariah Carey.

You can hear her tortuous melisma at the end of almost every line she sings and it gets intrusive and downright annoying to say the least. Some would be fine – but an excess takes me towards red mist territory.

I also have to admit a dislike for Ms Carey’s egotistical attitude and behaviour. I mean, make no mistake, she’s hugely successful and popular (she’s outsold Madonna in the US) but, then again, so are Egg McMuffins and Gregg’s pasties but I wouldn’t give either to a fucking dog.

So, imagine my mood after I read this.

The author – one John Arlidge – seems to be such a fixture up Mariah’s back passage that I suspect that he’s now getting his post delivered there after such observational gems as:

  • She’s lying on her back in a darkened room in the basement of the TV Asahi studios in Tokyo, dressed in a black miniskirt, a leopard-print Dolce & Gabbana trench coat and 8in Gucci bitch stacks.
  • But under the skin of this twittering popsicle is a businesswoman who has sold more singles, albums and downloads in the US than any other female artist, even Madonna.
  • Carey pulls up in her stretch limousine and steps out into a small but perfectly formed crowd.
  • Okay, there may be wine on the table — this is still rock’n’roll — but Carey is focused.
  • “I don’t care if the rock-band person thinks, ‘Oh, I’m a sellout’. Well, guess what? They’re a sellout anyway for going to a record company. I’m sorry — you are.
  • She hoists herself up slowly from her chaise longue, asks whether there are any stairs on the way to the limo — walking in 8in heels ain’t easy — and tells a flunky to round up the gaudy Hello Kitty dolls and take them to the limo. “I have to have my little toys,” she gushes.

My favourite part of the whole sycophantic piece is this quote from Carey herself:

“I change ethnically according to where I am in the world. I can be a spokesperson for black, white and Latina. MC could stand for multicultural.”

Well, I know what MC could also stand for but I’d welcome any other suggestions…

The glorious inanity of pop music

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One of my favourite Noel Coward quotes – and I’ve used it in this blog before – is this:

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is

And he’s not fucking wrong.

Pop music, by its very nature, was never intended to be of lasting worth – although much of it is – but sometimes the most inane music can capture public imagination in an enduring way.

Foe some bizarre reason, I’ve had this first piece in my head a lot lately and although it’s totally dumb, it’s great fun. Here’s Electric Six with ‘Gay Bar’. Turn your intellect off and just enjoy some great but edifyingly stoopid pop music:

The companion piece is much older. It’s Scotland’s finest: the Rezillos. The girl singer’s stage name always makes me laugh. Fay Fife…”I’m Fay Fife’…”I’m from Fife’…imagine this said in a Scottish accent…

The Rezillos were great fun and covered many songs that were already totally dumb like ‘Glad All Over’ and ‘I Like It’. However, they also wrote some great original material and here they are with ‘(My baby does) Good Sculptures’. In fact, the overall vibe – guitar-based, slightly crazed over the top enthusiasm – isn’t a million miles away from ‘Gay Bar’, which shows that there’s always room in our lives for cheap music – and hoo-fucking-ray for that I say!

In a state agents

Shark Towers has now been on the market for just over a week and we’ve already had 4 lots of potential buyers viewing the family estate.

Of course, selling this little piece of England means that we’re now faced with the prospect of buying a small corner of La Belle France, so we’ve been looking at French estate agents’ sites.

In doing so, we’ve stumbled upon a new interweb game: ‘Spot the worst photo of a French property‘.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my philosophy regarding photos of a house you want to sell is that you present the rooms nicely – clean, tidy, uncluttered, etc, etc.

But not so with many French vendors.

Here’s my favourite so far:

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More to come.

We will remember them

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This splendid gentleman was my great grandfather, George.

He fought in the First World War and was one of the lucky ones who survived it.

Let’s hope all our troops in Afghanistan are as lucky.

They shall not grow old,
As those that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.

A plea on the 5th of November

In these troubling times, it’s a comfort to know that our esteemed Prime Minister is keeping in touch with popular culture.

I mean, never mind the fact that we’re fighting a war in Afghanistan that we can never win, facing a level of national debt unprecedented in our country’s history, seeing our essential freedoms eroded on a daily basis, paying for one ill-conceived government initiative after another, living in thrall to a series of  reforms designed to give everyone ‘rights’ apart from those paying for them to be implemented and encouraging a culture based on ignorance, sloth and lack of responsibility.

No, Gordon still finds time to watch the X-Factor whilst the country falls apart like a leper in a jacuzzi.

On this day, of all days, I feel compelled to ask,

When is this cunt going to be put out of our misery?

It can’t come fucking quick enough.