Today I posted a video on Youtube of a Stan Tracey album , “Stan Tracey in person”. It is a mono LP and I played it using a Denon dl 102 mono cartridge. Why not follow this link and check it out. I rarely get the chance to make a Youtube video as there is always a dog barking just outside my door all day – today was a bank holiday so the complex was quiet but I will have to wait for the Christmas holiday before I get another opportunity…..The dog has a very loud rasping bark and it literally barks all day long and there is nothing I can do about it.
I am looking for a copy of an LP record called The Great Saturday Night Swindle. It was released on the CBS label in 1977. It was an Ireland only release. If you have a copy that you would like to sell let me know. I had a copy of this album about 15 years ago but got rid of it because the cover was in poor condition. I though I could just root around and pick up another copy but 15 years later I’m still rooting and have not found another copy yet.
I bought this LP just for the cover art. I found it in my local record shop. The group is called Dreams and I had never heard of them before but like I say I liked the cover. According to the sleeve notes the album was made up in the studio – the songs had not actually been written but just made up as the session progressed. It made the album sound interesting but to be honest it’s a rather bland affair……’soft funk soul with nothing to make it stand out from the crowd. But the cover is something of a work of art…….
While I was writing this post I had the album playing on my deck in the background and feel I have to correct my initial comment/review. Side a is indeed bland and very ordinary but side b is somewhat odd and for that reason interesting. There are two tracks on this side which blend into each other , Dream Suite and New York and there is a touch of the avant garde about them – but only the slightest touch.
About 10 days ago , it was a Sunday , I was in the shower and found a lump on my hip. It is about the size of a golf ball. I’m an old guy so naturally I thought it might be cancer. The fact that I already have a couple of cancer like symptoms did not reassure me in any way. I don’t have a doctor and haven’t been to a hospital in maybe thirty years and am a great believer in the wise old saying , ” Ignore it and it will go away”. It has always worked in the past and I’m still here. The reason I am telling you all this is simply that this is the only interesting thing that has happened since I last updated this blog. Now there is something important I have to say at this point – Please don’t email/message me/comment that I should go and have it checked out. I don’t need good advice and I wouldn’t take it anyhow. If on the other hand you want to make a 10 euro contribution to my funeral expenses that’s a different kettle of fish altogether……..
If , over the next few months 500 people were to read this post and send me 10 euros each I would be laughing. There is , as it happens , a very nice phono cartridge on Ebay for just over 5,000 sterling which I quite fancy. I have an excellent Denon DL 102 mono cartridge which does everything I want it to do ( a classic warm mono sound) but it would be nice to have the Koetsu JP mc cartridge. It’s all a matter of priorities. I like the old vinyl. I like the look and the feel of it and at its best there really is nothing that sounds quite like it. But all this in neither here nor there and besides I’m sure there are men of ninety out there who are covered with lumps and are as healthy as horses……
All of this is of course preamble to the fact that I don’t have anything interesting to say. Nothing of interest ever happens to me and I don’t do anything interesting myself -hence this rambling blog post that seems to be heading nowhere……….I could of course lie. I could claim that I’m busy doing this that and the other………I could make myself sound far more interesting than I really am. I could , as Billy Connolly say’s , make myself sound exotic. I could take on a new persona , start a new blog and make everyone envious of my wonderful life as I suspect some blogger do. I could be young , handsome , professional not to mention neo-liberal and superficially cool with a dockside apartment to prove it. I could be SOMEONE. Unfortunately all of this requires effort and I’m rather lazy – so there you are.
I have often thought of getting myself a box and going into the city center and standing on it at the corner of St. Stephens Green and Grafton Street. I imagine myself with arms raised just like Peter Finch in Network.….telling everyone who passes that we are all going to hell , that everything is pointless – or whatever else happens to come into my head. I could stand there with my longish grey hair and unhealthy complexion shouting whatever rubbish comes into my head. Young people would stop and video me on their mobile phones and put me up on Youtube. I might , if I shouted loud enough and talked enough rubbish go viral…….And of course , I could report what happens each day on my blog. I actually think I would be quite good at this. But even if I was hopeless I probably would be regarded as an eccentric or a CHARACTER. There used to be a lot of such people wandering around Dublin in the old days. One of the most famous was a man known as BANG BANG. He was really famous , everyone , every school child knew of BANG BANG even if they never saw him. Back in the 50’s and 60’s Dublin buses had an open platform at the back and BANG BANG would hop on to this platform if a bus slowed down and point a big key he used to carry with him at the passengers and go BANG BANG. The passengers would pretend to be shot or shout back ” You missed”. Then when the bus pulled up at traffic lights he would jump off and get on another bus.
There was also a man called Johnny Forty Coats because of all the coats he used to wear. He didn’t do anything , he just had lots of coats on him. And yet another man was called Hairy Lemon. All these men were nothing short of legends and are still remembered fondly by Dubliners to this day. I have always wanted to be legend and after all it would be something to do , wouldn’t it. Let me know what you think.
I was in town today. I popped in to see if any of the local record shops had gotten in some good vinyl and on my way I decided to check out the Oxfam Shop in Parliment Street. While I was walking up the quays just before Capel Street bridge I noticed a sign outside a pub which read , ” Rooftop Market”. I went in and climbed up a flight of stairs and found myself in an empty room with paintings on the walls. It was a bit like something out of Dickens , very old , dark with a fire burning in an old-fashioned fireplace and what I think was a bar just inside the door. Beyond that it was just an empty room. Off that room on the right was another smaller room with about 7 or 8 stalls selling jewelry and brick- a -brack. – – And there he was. A young boy/youth sitting behind a table upon which sat a little red typewriter and a little notice to say that he was selling poems. I don’t know how old he was , perhaps 16 or thereabouts. I’m very bad at judging age but to me he seemed just a boy. I had wandered in there hoping there might be some old records and as I didn’t see any I left and went on my way. I managed to pick up a copy of Louis Stewart’s Louis The First ( I already have 4 or 5 copies of the LP) and a couple of Columbia silver/white labels which are quite collectible. I was going to go straight home at this point when I thought about the boy selling the poems so I went back to the Rooftop Market and there he was sitting there behind his little table with the red typewriter in from of him. I told him I had a blog called The Man With No Friends and he just smiled and said , “I’m sorry”. I told him I wanted a poem for my blog and he asked did I want it dedicated to anyone. I said it was for no one in particular , just for my blog. Without hesitating he started to type. He had long delicate looking fingers and with these he proceeded to peck at the typewriter. Peck , peck , peck……The other stall holders looked at him as he worked and it was very quiet apart from the peck , peck peck of his little machine. Three minute later he handed me a poem and I gave him 10 euros……
When I got home I made a cup of coffee and put on my Louis Stewart record then sat down and took out the poem. Here it is just as it was written…….
The Man with No Friends
He walks alone,
Untouched by the physical,
The shrieks and cries of the world,
Wash over him like yet another rain storm,
Yet another blizzard.
Still , onwards , he walks,
Company in the rhythm of his steps,
His thoughts and feelings
Broadcast across the internet,
Picked up by fellow travelers,
Weary of their interaction.
The young poets name is Stephen Clare. I quite like this little poem. It is not perfect but considering the circumstance its not bad at all…..in fact it is rather good. I like the idea of a young man/boy sitting behind his old-school portable typewriter in an old room in an old house selling poems to passing strangers. It gives me hope that the world has not entirely gone to hell……. So there you are , you never know what the day holds , what little adventures awaits you…
This is the cover of a psych/religious/born again album called , ” So confusing and so very clear“. It is quite rare.
It is one of those albums that is worth buying just for the cover art…..’though the music is first rate. The record was a private pressing and would have had a very modest print run. It did not sell in its day but is now quite sought after. This girl would be in her fifties now. ……It really is a very nice piece of montage…Give the image a click to have a proper look at it.
Ringsend is a small village in south east Dublin. It is the dirtiest place in Ireland ( and that’s saying something). And the people of Ringsend are , for the most part , scum . Only scum would live in this filth and consider it normal. I’m thinking of setting up a blog just to highlight this one issue. The entire neighbourhood is littered with dog dirt and every other kind of litter you can imagine. There is literally tons of it…everywhere. And the people wade through this every day , adding to it as they go along…….
I have never seen even one person pick up this litter. In the summer it is particularly bad with the locals hanging around outside the pubs and adding to this mess with practically every minute that passes. It is a nightmare. Scum people more than happy to live surrounded by their own scum. Lowlife living the low life……too ignorant to know any better and too stupid to care…..
This is the man on my wall. He has been there for about 4 years now and I’ve no idea who he is. I bought this little painting at a small antique fair here in Dublin…..it was something of an impulse buy. I look at it every day. I have no choice really as I live in a one room flat but I’m not complaining……There is no signature. ‘ No date either.
In between watching reruns of reruns on TV my eyes stray to this man. Who is he ? At night when I’m in bed ( which is to say when I’m lying on the floor) my eyes catch out his and I find myself wondering , ” Who are you”….. I wish I knew his story…. He certainly looks like a real person and not just the figment of some artist imagination. He’s dead now whoever he is. And I’ll be dead myself soon enough and so , sooner or later , will you. We all have THAT in common. In his life he could never have know that some day, generations after his death, his image would be sitting on my wall . Somewhere along the way this painting of him has been abandoned , made homeless and sent out into the big uncaring world. The people who cared about him in his life are now long dead and those who came after must not have cared enough to keep this picture in the family or perhaps they just forgot about him..
Now he has , after a fashion , been reborn into a virtual world he could never have imagined in his wildest dreams or worst nightmares. He’s living in the either of the world wide web. He has been reduced to a miniscule piece of binary code. He is timeless now and stateless too. He’s a million miles from where he was and just one click away. He is the man on my wall. He is my companion in the lonely hours – the wondering hours.