Archive for November, 2012

Putin up yours


According to the BBC, so it must be true, a Moscow Court has ordered that videos of Pussy Riot doing their ‘Punk Prayer’ in Moscow’s main cathedral should be removed from the internet or blocked. So, Mr Judge here’s what I think of your ruling:

I’ll keep holding on


I have written before about the fact that I am converting, what is a much bigger vinyl collection, in terms of numbers, than I had thought it was, to MP3 before. The most recent time here(It is about half way down). When doing this I discovered there some albums I thought I had in my collection but I discovered were no longer there. Two that fall into this category are More Songs About Buildings and Food by Talking Heads and Velvet Underground and Nico. The first I managed to buy again from  eBay a few months ago and I have enjoyed listening to it again. The second is still not in my possession. Cycling down one of the main streets in Strasbourg, perhaps that’s why it got the name ‘Grand Rue’, I passed this record and clothing shop pictured left and my eye was caught by what was in the window. I have inserted a close up picture if you cannot picture what it was that caught my eye. Yes, the album I need to add back to my collection. The bugger is that I have been working for the University a lot lately. It is good in that they pay well. It is bad that they do not pay for work done between September and December until March. So, I’m earning a decent whack but haven’t got my hands on any of it. I have done some work for the regional engineering apprenticeships organisation but I get the first installment of my pay from them at the end of the month. There is no point asking you to guess one of the first places I shall go when paid but until then it is a case of hoping that no one else who wants this album sees it before I get paid. Which will happen first?

The title of this piece comes from a fantastic song by The Action, enjoy, although the film is very old, here:

100 top albums of 2012


It seems to early to me. Especially as there are five weeks left in the year, but Piccadilly Records in Manchester have produced their list of the 100 best albums of 2012, 20 best compilations and 20 best reissues. I am not surprised that I have none of the records in the top ten with the highest being the new Richard Hawley album(Pictured left), Standing At The Sky’s Edge, which is such a big change of direction from his previous albums I have found it difficult to get into it.

The next one I own is not till 30 with Coexist by the The xx (right) which I have enjoyed. I agree with the description by Piccadilly Records that it is a more mature record from them.

There are ten more places to the next of the store’s top 100 I have bought this year at 40 Jack White’s very good Blunderbuss(Pictured below left). I was encouraged to buy it by @RobSealy and have not regretted doing so.

There are only 4 places to the next of the albums I own that feature in the top 100, Sun by Cat Power (Below right). I have only recently got this and it has been a regular play with one track, Cherokee, featuring as one of my tracks on This Is My Jam a week or two ago. People seem to be a bit sniffy about Cat Power, I don’t know why as I thought The Greatest was appropriately titled and was given, rather appropriately, You Are Free on leaving a job at Lambeth Council and have enjoyed listening to the three of them.

So, although I did not have any in the top ten that’s four of my five in the top fifty. There are more than fifty places to the last of my entrants in the top 100. There are others I have considered buying, or, Like The Jim Jones Review, are playing Strasbourg before the end of the year so there is a chance I might enjoy the show and buy the album.

The last is also an album people have been sniffy about too, Born To Die by Lana Del Rey. I like large orchestral songs like those of Scott Walker and also like 60’s Girl groups and I think the way she has melded the sound of the two is very good.

So that’s the 100 top albums of 2012. Read the list. Post in the comments those you have bought or recommendations for one’s I haven’t bought that I should.

UPDATE: Afterwards, whilst thinking about this post, I realised that I was in Manchester and went to Piccadilly Records this Summer. I was looking to buy some vinyl but didn’t find anything I wanted in their store but did in one around the corner and came away with two Kraftwerk records, a Thin Lizzy best of and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John.

We will remember them


Reading the tweets of various people I follow in the UK who have been at Remembrance services this morning reminds me all too much of a cultural difference. Remembrance is not done the same way here. Parliament voted last February that this year, for the first time, the date was to commemorate the fallen in the First World War and all the French fallen. There was a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe attended by the President and Prime Minister:

From attendance at ceremonies when I was a cub and a scout to later years when I didn’t attend but took a little time out myself on 11th November there was never before anything which touched me personally. A then friend went to the Falklands and came back. My father tried to go to Korea for his National Service but went to Austria instead. Despite being one of a family of ten only his two eldest brothers fought in the Second World War, one in North Africa and Italy and survived through it all and the other lost a leg in France. By timing it had seemed we were lucky, no one was old enough or young enough to have fought in the First World War.

Last year I had started rehearsals of Oh What A Lovely War where I played an ordinary soldier in the First World War. In November I was in Australia and attended a Remembrance Day Service in Adelaide as I posted here.

This year, for the first time, there is a family member I shall be remembering. If my father’s side of the family were lucky in either surviving or avoiding war then I have discovered recently that the brother of my maternal Great-Grandfather died on the Somme on 28th March 1918. According to the censuses he was a wire worker in Oldham, an ancillary trade to blacksmiths who took the formed metal and pulled it through a metal hole of reducing size to make wire. He was single 27 year-old on the 1911 census but by the time he died on 28th March 1918 he was married with two sons. I have not managed to find a service record to find when he joined up but he was a member of the 6th Batallion of the 1st Manchester Regiment.(Badge shown) The record show that on 4th August 1914 the battalion were at 3 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester and a the end of that month they moved as part of the Manchester Brigade, East Lancashire Division into camp at Hollingworth Lake near Littleborough near Rochdale. On 10th September 1915 the battalion sailed from Southampton for Egypt arriving Alexandria, 25th September. They landed at Gallipoli on 6th May 1915 with the 5th Battalion at W and V beaches , 26th May 1915 the formation became part of the 127th Brigade, 42nd (East Lancs.) Division. On the 8th & 9th January the battalion was evacuated via Mudros to Egypt. In March 1917 the battalion was sent to France and on 11th November 1918, as part of the 127th Brigade 42nd Division they were in France in Hautmont Area, S. W of Maubeuge.

On 21 March 1918 the German army launched an attack on the British Army to try and break through and drive through to the sea to drive the British out of the war before the Americans arrived. The Germans advanced between 40 and about 6 miles, depending upon the account you believe, but then stopped as the troops discovered the joys of the property behind the lines which had been abandoned. What happened in between that attack and the one week later that my relative died I have not been able to discover. The history of the regiment will have to be researched in the future.

What I have been able to find through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site is that his memorial is at the Arras Memorial, Pas-de-Calais France, pictured. Which is a visit I shall have to make.


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