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Month: September, 2018

How we break each other’s hearts

I know I wrote a post yesterday and this is not due until next weekend but I’ve been thinking a lot today about life and death. What makes someone accept death one day and not another? Obviously if someone is terminally ill then they can look forward to the day their suffering ends. Similarly, if someone is old and frail they may look forward to the day when they are no longer a burden on those closest to them.

I met death while I was a child and have shaken hands with him a few times over the years, he never took me as my time is not yet due. However, I feel ready to greet him when my time is over here. Whenever that time comes I will greet death as an old friend and I will not fear the time when he comes for me. After all no-one will ever get out of here alive.

Everything that lives will die at sometime, this is part of the cycle and we should not be surprised that the same fate will fall on us. Some live short lives and others long lives but at the end of the day we all die. Is there anyone who thinks they will live forever? I thought David Bowie might have managed that, he didn’t as he was only human after all. Keith Richards is so well pickled on the inside that he may well live to be 150, even he will die eventually and he is suffering from Arthritis so it may well be sooner than that.

In the winter everything dies off, trees go to sleep and their leaves are shed when they die. The leaves will lie until they decay into the ground to feed the soil and bring the plants back again in the spring. Everything feeds everything on this planet. The top of the food chain will feed those at the bottom of the food chain. Everything is connected to everything else so it should not be any surprise to learn that our lives touch so many others over the course of our time here.

I had a lot of friends at school, school mates and those near where I lived, but lost touch with them over the course of years when they moved away or I moved away. Life is like that, one thing I learned is that people will come into our lives at points when we need them and stay as long as necessary before moving off again. How many of us are still in touch with people we went to primary school with (in the US that relates as elementary school).

Over the years we meet people, make friends and lose friends, the whole process goes on and on repeating. We live our lives and, if we are lucky, we meet people who change things for the better in our lives and then remain for decades.

The music for this post is from Georgie Wonderful (George Harrison) and I don’t own the copyright of the song or video, I found it on YouTube and it is included for your enjoyment.

There was a very strange enchanted boy

The beginnings of a song written by eden ahbez (the lower case was his idea not mine) which was recorded first by Nat King Cole in 1948 and has been covered many times since then. I first heard the song as sung by David Bowie on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack album. The end of the song lyrics have a poignant message but the composer said that “in return” was much more difficult to get as sometimes love is unrequited. The full lyric is “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return.”

Anyhoo, this week’s theme is love or LOVE, whether you spell it normally or capitalise it. Love is the greatest gift anyone can bestow on another human being. Should you be wondering why, in the current climate in both the UK and the USA, I want to write a post about love when there is so much evidence of hate being the major emotion around these days. I feel that people need reminding that there is another emotion more powerful than hate and that is indeed LOVE.

When you realise that we are all the same and there is only one race – The Human Race – then there is a chance that we can all work together to make life better for everyone. I was watching the History of Comedy series on Sky Arts and this reminded me that humour can change lives, for the better when it is done with love. There are a lot of comedians over the decades who have made huge inroads into changing perceptions and making lives much better than they were before.

I would like to remind people that not very long ago (in the early 1960’s) there was a system in place in the USA (most notably in the Southern States) where black and white were segregated and never allowed to mix. A group from Liverpool heard what had happened in Selma Alabama and then had their manager, Brian Epstein insure that their tours specified no segregated audiences or they would refuse to perform. As they grew in stature the civil rights leaders met the group (Malcolm X and Martin Luther King) and they were helped in return to get their message of a single race across to the masses as well as the leaders of both countries. Shame racism is still rampant across a lot of the USA being perpetrated now by the leader of the country. At least in the UK racists are being sent to jail every time they step out of their door mouthing their poison or attacking others.

Comedy can be used to change perceptions, just the same as music can. Musicians have used their voice to make the public aware of what is happening under their noses. We can see examples of this throughout the 20th century. From Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, to Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis of the Rock and Roll era first wave. Just to prove that music is an international language and refuses to recognise skin colour as a barrier to the message. There have been comedy duos working to get the message of one race across to the masses as well.

When we realise that there is only one race – the human race – we can end hate, work together and get more done. Inclusion does not reduce anyone’s voice or rights, inclusion increases everyone’s rights and voices. We have the power to do good in this world by opening the eyes of the haters to show that we will no longer stand silently by while they challenge our sensibilities but we will stand up to show the world that we are all the same and we stand with our comrades wherever they are until we can wipe all evil away.

Here is the song which gave this post it’s title, enjoy but the copyright is not mine.

You were perverted too

This title is a line from a song by George Harrison (one of 4 compositions he wrote and the Beatles recorded for The Beatles (The White Album). I watched the complete Concert For George again today and was taken by how much like a young George Harrison his son Dhani looked. Olivia made the comment and it was announced by Paul McCartney as “Olivia said that with Dhani up on stage it looks as though George stayed young and we’ve all aged.”

How many of you out there, dear reader, look in the mirror and wonder where the old woman/man is who is staring back at you? I can’t believe how old I look these days, Caused in the main by a hard living, partying wildly, youth and I’m surprised that I am still here when so many of my friends have left this mortal coil behind. I think I need to take a leaf out of Jack Nicholson’s book and start finding younger friends so that fewer of my friends will die before me.

As with all of the songs written and recorded by George over the years since 1963 (while he was still a Beatle) both with the group and as a solo artist, his warmth shines through and continues to shine long after his death. He recorded a few instrumentals in his time (including one attributed to George and John and included on the Tony Sheridan album).

If George is still watching over us all then I know he would have been proud of the number of people who performed at the Concert for George on the 1st anniversary of his death especially as the songs were all his, apart from Honey Don’t which was by one of his heroes, and the Ringo song Photograph was a song he co-wrote with Richard Starkey although he never released it himself he did have a hand in recording it with Ringo.

I have the bootleg recording in my digital collection of “A Toot And A Snore in ’74” which was John and Paul in the studio again just jamming together while nearly everybody else was “sitting around in awe that there was no friction between (them)”. John Lennon interview from 1980. It was nice that they made up, it’s a shame John died before Live Aid as George and Rich may have agreed to reform The Beatles for that concert had John still been around. It’s a shame that Rich and Paul didn’t consider putting a band together and going out on the road in 2012 as a tribute to the Beatles turning 50. It wouldn’t have been the Beatles, we all know that, however, they could have performed mainly Beatles songs from the Anthology series with a few John and George numbers to commemorate them and billed themselves as Paul and Ringo with an All-Starr Band. Needless to say Rich could have done a few numbers (as he does on his own tours) of both his solo stuff and stuff he sang with the Beatles. Paul does Beatles stuff anyway on his tours so what would have stopped them going out as a duo?

Anyway, with the release in November of the 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles in a multitude of formats including a super deluxe edition of 6cd’s and a blu-ray disc of music, I thought the time was right to revert to George (still, at the time of writing this post, the most recent Beatle to pass). Here then is his song from The White Album “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, copyright isn’t owned by myself or YouTube where I found the track.

And even since I knew it all so clear

Well, it’s Sunday again, another end of week-end (for most of working age). I haven’t really got anything to write about this week but it’s time for me to stop putting off writing and letting you know about my pet peeve of the week or what I’ve been up to during the past week, dear reader.

There hasn’t been anything in particular which has pissed me off this week, I haven’t been up to much either, for a change. I still don’t have a job and the money is lasting because I haven’t been impulse buying as much. However, when told I have to stop spending money it becomes a red flag to a bull, depressing me and the best way to get out of the depression before things get too dark is to – spend money.

I made a huge purchase last week, 7 nights in Dubai for £1500 and paid it in full. That was total cost for 2. Unfortunately I booked the wrong hotel, however, when my wife checked the hotel I had booked she said she would let me off as it was the same price she had seen and was better than the hotel she had found.

I wonder how many of my readers have bought the new Paul McCartney album (Egypt Station)? I received it on the day of release and was dubious of how it would sound as the blurb said it was a departure from the last few albums released by Macca and was a return to his earlier solo sound. I gave it a listen and was pleasantly surprised. His voice has sounded off key when he has performed live in recent years so I was concerned about that, I needn’t have worried though as with the studio tricks they can perform now his voice sounds great. He can perform almost the entire album live as well so that will please the fans who will be queuing up for tickets when they go on sale.

I saw McCartney in concert in early 1973 on the Red Rose Speedway tour, with Wings. I really enjoyed that performance not least because Wings were a great band but also because Macca took a back seat to allow others in the group to share lead vocals. I doubt he will do that when it is only his name up in lights. I don’t know who will be backing him on tour but won’t rush to buy a ticket to see him again.

Ringo is on tour this year back in the USA and Europe but no UK dates. Why does Rich not tour in the UK do you think? Could it be that he has had enough of being pulled to pieces by the British critics? They can be harsh and more so to Rich than any of the other 3 previous members of the Fab Four. I listened to an interview on American tv with Paul McCartney and he said it was John who split the Beatles in 1969. In my view it was a mixture of them all. After all, George left then was persuaded to return, Ringo then left saying he’d had enough, but returned after a few days. Paul objected to Allen Klein being brought in to manage the group and decided his future father-in-law was going to manage his career so enter two managers to replace Eppy. With all the bickering every time they got together and having enough recorded material for 2 single albums or a double album, Lennon announced that he wanted a divorce from the other 3.

Having been asked to keep it under wraps until they decided what to do with the songs they had, John didn’t say anything to anyone about having left the group. He even went back into the studio with Phil Spector to record some funnies for inclusion in the songs that George Martin wanted nothing to do with which later became their last album Let It Be although it had been recorded prior to the sessions for Abbey Road.

Rich was the one chosen to speak to Paul McCartney who had announced several months before the release date for his first solo album and this had coincided with the release date for the last Beatles album. Neither album suffered bad sales because of this so the fears from Allen Klein were definitely unfounded. Of course McCartney was not the first solo Beatle record, that honour belongs to George Harrison with his Music from Wonderwall soundtrack album (Paul McCartney also had a soundtrack album the year before but he didn’t officially appear on it).

All of this has been laid to rest finally and it’s nice to hear Paul talking about his late songwriting partner with reverence. The news took us all by surprise and for a long time after it was Paul’s off the cuff remark that Lennon’s assassination was a “Drag” that remained in the public imagination. Those of us familiar with Beatles-speak knew what he meant but the media made a lot more of it at the time than it deserved. It was nice that Paul and John had once more worked together in the studio in 1974 (see the bootleg “A Toot And A Snore in 74”). Most of the guys in the studio, according to Lennon were standing around watching John and Paul perform old Rock ‘n’ Roll Standards for inclusion on the Lennon album simply called Rock ‘n Roll released in 1975.

Music today is also from the 1960’s before it was revised for a number one single a few years later. The song is copyright by Warner Bros and is found on YouTube so please enjoy Reflected.

A simple relief from this

As put in song in the 1960’s the message was really simple and put succinctly by Macca’s songwriting buddy of the time – John Lennon. Macca has added his voice to the mix several times but this is his best reply yet to “Give Peace A Chance”. All we want is some peace in our lives “All You Need Is Love” as the greatest songwriting duo of recorded music put it in 1967 (OK it was mainly penned by John but I’m sure Macca added some sentiments to it).

There is becoming less acceptance recently, hatred seems to be gaining in popularity again but we don’t need it or want it. What we do need and want is some stability from our leaders and acceptance of everyone’s differences. After all we are all unique, there is only one of each of us. Acceptance of everyone doesn’t mean we become less than we are, that’s not how it works. We become better people and better citizens if we accept our differences and embrace them in others. It makes no difference what colour of skin people are in, whether they are male, female or non-binary, trans or straight, gay or not.

Some of my friends when I was growing up have turned out to be gay, so what? I have met a lot of lesbians over the years and feel better able to accept myself because I got to know them. I refuse to discriminate against anyone on first meeting, however, if you put down someone because of their skin colour, gender, sexual preference or any other unimportant facet of their being I will stop calling you a friend.

I hate to see people, especially children, thrown out of their homes by war and left to find shelter where they can. Surely in the 21st Century we can show some humanity and allow people to migrate to safety from war zones? Yes I know every country has limited resources but if these refugees were allowed in without checks at the border, given nothing as a handout but were allowed legally to work and find housing for themselves wouldn’t they be less likely to be terrorists?

Separating children from their parents is cruel and heartless and should be banned by every head of state in the Western World. Terrorists come in with refugees because they get handouts and can plot for the future. If they had to work to earn money for food and clothing for themselves and their families they would be less likely to plot. Don’t provide houses for refugees but give them somewhere warm and dry to live with adequate facilities but no luxuries and they will work and increase the resources for everyone. If you trust people most will be worthy of that trust and those that aren’t can always be sent back to where they came from.

With a track from his new album (Egypt Station) which I bought the day it was released I present for your delectation courtesy of Universal Music via YouTube Paul McCartney, the copyright to this music is owned by Macca and Universal Music not me but please enjoy.

Don’t let the hateful try and take it away

I have tried talking to my wife again about the way I am, she shut me up with a thump the same as always. How can I tell her that there are some days I wish I could just wear something pretty a dress or a skirt and blouse (I know I’ve only got moobs so a bra wouldn’t be necessary). She thinks this is strange and I must be winding her up but I really do feel like this and I have felt this way since the age of 6 or 7. It’s now the 21st century so would I get away with wearing pretty clothes in public?

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have no body hair at all and a nice pair of boobs, a C or D cup, nothing too outrageous. My wife thinks this is abnormal for a man to do, I think that male and female or woman and man are completely out dated concepts. There is no longer any distinction as to what a woman can do or should be stopped from trying, no jobs fall into the category of women jobs or men jobs so why shouldn’t I dress according to how I feel when I wake up?

I wouldn’t want to go the whole hog and have a vagina as I quite like my cock. It’s just that I would like to be able to wear whatever I wanted to without anyone feeling threatened. Surely that should be okay in the 21st Century anywhere on this small rock hurtling through space?

Anyway, to go back to my first point my wife hits me with more and more frequency these days, she doesn’t like the idea that I have retired and – at the moment – have no income. If I were a woman I could ask a shelter to help me leave but as a man there is no one out there to help. I am fed up with being told I’m not earning so the money in the bank isn’t mine to spend even though I cashed in a pension pot to get it to tide me over for the next 14 months. She spends money on clothes she wears once or never wears at all then tells me that I can’t spend £1.99 on a book or album I want.

I really need to move my money somewhere she can’t touch it and then put in my share of the bills every month until I can get out so that at least I will have some money to set me up and get what I need. My bank won’t let me open another account without going into the branch and then she would find out I’ve done it before I’m ready to move everything out of the joint account. If anyone can offer any help or advice please do so.

Music this weekend comes about because of the way I’ve been feeling for the last few weeks while my wife has been on the sick, she goes back to work tomorrow, a week after being told she is now receiving Statutory Sick Pay only as her entitlement to full pay and half pay both ended on the same day. It’s by Ezra Furman and was actually a toss up between this song and the Kinks Lola, please enjoy although the copyright isn’t owned by me.

I don’t believe you really like Frank Sinatra

Watching the ads on British tv these days there is no escape from the charities fighting for your hard earned. Every day there are ads for dog and cat shelters, water aid for the so-called 3rd world, help children living in the streets in India or give to the NSPCC so they can put a smile on more children’s faces.

All very deserving and in desperate need of some extra funding. Our Government used to have millions allocated every year to give to charities both at home and abroad but because money is tight since the credit crunch and downturn from 2008 onwards this source of funding has dried up. This is the 21st Century and surely we should all be helping those worse off to become better able to help themselves? After all money only goes so far and without the ability to spread any funding further by giving people the opportunity to be trained so they can work to promote their own well being it’s just a bottomless pit for limited funds.

The old saying is so very true, give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. We should be sending people out there to teach people how to drill wells for water and end the shortage of clean drinking water once and for all. Not everyone who gets a dog will take care of it, we all know this so why is it a surprise that there are always more dogs than spaces for them with people who care what happens to them?

I know this is my third blog post in two days and it is also the second post today but I post when I have something to say and hope that you don’t mind me taking up some more of your time today, dear reader.

Todays music is courtesy of YouTube again and it is an old song from Dexy’s Midnight Runners – please enjoy and the copyright isn’t owned by me.

Strong women in stories – More please and thank you

I have finished the first Riley Paige novel by Blake Pierce and am working my way through the second. The characters are all well written and the lead character is a woman with issues (and a teenage daughter to boot) so I was not expecting the outcome to the story that it had.

Wonderful writing and characters you can root for, they seem human and not a figment of someone’s imagination. If you like detective stories and trying to get to the bottom of them ahead of the story using the clues then give this a miss. You are introduced to the unsub early on and it is just following the clues left to get him caught. However, the story is so well written I didn’t mind the plot going the way it did. I really don’t want to give away too much since one of the characters mentioned in the first book as having died in an explosion didn’t. Enough easter eggs from me in this review.

As I said the characters are well thought out, interesting and believable, the lead character is a strong woman with baggage so she works well. It is good to have a well written and thought out female lead character, even with her baggage she is strong enough to overcome her issues and those of her child and ex.

Actually, while I’m reviewing books I finished the Sarah Millican autobiography How To Be Champion. As expected it was well written and funny, she is definitely the new Queen of Comedy and the title is well deserved. I love the comments at the end of some chapters on how to be champion. For those who don’t understand the word, champion is what people from the North East use to say that they are good or enjoying something.

Sarah Millican isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but she is a “marmite” personality you either love her or hate her with no-one in the middle. (It seems that way anyway and she is strong enough to take criticism but won’t take any shit from haters). I really loved reading her story and, as a fan, I knew most of it anyway but her take on it was better than anything I had heard or read previously. Sarah is one of the best comedians around just now but has, so far, refused to play stadiums although she could fill them. Her comedy relies on interaction with her audience and that would be harder to do in a stadium so she has made the right choice to continue playing smaller venues up and down the country.

Her comedy shows have played to audiences in other parts of the world as well and she keeps being invited back so the audiences obviously get her there as well. I would love to be able to see her again live. She is amazing and still down to earth as well which is surprising with her talent for making people laugh that she has remained grounded and has never lost her roots. Manchester is lucky to have her and I wish her every happiness in the future and hope she continues to amaze and wow audiences all over the world for decades to come.

Video is courtesy of YouTube and the copyright is not owned by me.

Your blood like winter freezes just like ice

It’s that time of the week when I get my thoughts together to write another blog, or sometimes start writing a blog and see how my thoughts flow. The thing that has happened this week out of the ordinary was when I went to see my dad. I asked him how he was and he told me he has gone deaf and explained that it happened at the beginning of the year as well so he thinks it is a build up of wax in his ears. I told him that I had the same thing and wake up every morning unable to hear anything.

I then repeated my question to see if he would answer me and he told some useless information about the program he was watching. When I asked him if he had seen anything of my brothers I was again given the information about his program. After an hour we decided to leave and I had not received any answers to my questions, been able to get my dad to talk about anything apart from his program and no doubt he would have forgotten I called round half an hour after I left. That’s the thing with dementia the long term memory is brilliant but the short term is naff.

I’m just worried that I will have this to come later on myself. I already have sometimers (sometime I remember sometimes I forget). My long-term memory is not what it used to be as I can remember what I was doing in specific time periods but occasionally get the years mixed up. That’s why my story blog is taking ages to write when I have it down to years. I am up to 1969 and I remember the remarkable achievements like the Moon Landing and Civil Rights Marches with the rise of the Black Panthers and what I was doing on those days but the rest of the time it is trying to make sure I stick to the year I am writing about.

I feel that I am not alone in my dreams any more either. I found another blogger who said his ideal world matches mine and this is shared by a lot of others. A World where people accept we are all different and diversity is welcomed and celebrated, love is welcome and hatred has become a thing of the past. We should build bridges not walls, tear down barriers and learn to live together in harmony with each other and nature. Don’t judge people on minor things, hurting them for these is wrong as they can not change their skin colour, who they love, who they are and what they want from life. Killing, even in times of war, has to be outlawed and then wiped out in order that war becomes a thing of the past.

The biggest proponents of peace are no longer with us but their message is still being picked up today and when enough see it as the truth we will put an end to killing others for being different and once nations join together there will be no need to go to war over increasing the boundary of one country at the cost of another. This is a small planet and it is floating in space we are all passengers and it’s about time we recognised this fact and started helping each other to become the best version of themselves possible.

We really need to stop forcing borders on others, keeping them small, we can all become better citizens by trusting each other, respecting our neighbours and not worrying whose religion is the “right” religion. How do you know there is a Supreme Being? Whether you call him God or Allah or any other name you choose, He may not exist. If he does then isn’t he supposed to treasure love above everything else? If the atheists among us are wrong and there is a God (regardless of His name) He would rather everyone got along and accepted our differences.

I have heard a lot of things being said recently about building walls and refusing to allow borders being destroyed by building walls. Let’s put this into practice and show everyone how special they are, there is an easy way to demonstrate acceptance and everyone can do this, all you have to do is smile. It is also contagious, you smile at someone and they smile back then smile at someone else and on it goes. Try it out next time you go out and see if I’m wrong. Course people may think you’re crazy (in my case they’d be right) but that is not an excuse to not try smiling at others. Making someone feel good comes back quickly to make you feel good.

I’m glad it’s your birthday

Today would have been Freddie Mercury’s birthday. He is still remembered fondly by millions of fans all over the world. The music he made with his group Queen and also solo will live on forever and we will never know anyone like him again in this lifetime. He was talented, over the top and a great ambassador for the LGBTQ youth of today. We still think of you often Freddie and remember how great your voice was.

Today’s music scene still owes a lot to the heroes of yesterday who are no longer with us today, John Lennon, Buddy Holly, Bob Marley, Fats Domino and all those others who have left us recently. The biggest names in Rock will never die and that’s why they are special – people like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie – who pushed the envelope and brought differences to the forefront in order to diversify and include.

Some of you may have recognised the lyric from today’s title as it was a track on a double album from 1968 and will be celebrating 50 years this year. The lyric may not be from Queen but it celebrates a birthday and I thought it was apt to include that today to this blog concerning a birthday celebration of someone who died in 1991 from complications caused by AIDS.

Freddie was flamboyant on stage and larger than life in concert, you would have to ask those who knew him (the remaining 3 members of Queen, Mary Austin and Jim Hutton) what he was like in private but I think someone said that he was a very private person away from the concert stage and that is often the case. David Bowie had a great deal of admiration for Freddie as well as working with the group on a single (Under Pressure) which he had co-written. I saw Queen live once, at Freddie’s “picnic by the Serpentine” in London’s Hyde Park. They were fantastic and this was before they had begun playing at stadiums all over the world. The support acts were fantastic and when Queen took the stage as the sun was setting it became Freddie’s day and the group’s finest concert to that date.

I would have liked to see them again on tour but when I had the money for tickets they weren’t touring and when I was broke they decided to tour the UK. Anyway, just once was mind blowing and I did watch their live set at Live Aid through the television and they were absolutely brilliant. Sad that Freddie became too ill to tour again following the 1986 tour. As I didn’t have a job in 1986 and the nearest he played to my home was at St. James’ Park in Newcastle I never got the chance to go and see them perform again.

Today’s music is a 2009 remaster of a November 1968 track from The Beatles from the album of the same name (also known as the White Album) and was found on YouTube so I don’t own the copyright for the track.