Do you remember your first kiss?

Do you remember your first kiss?
Do you remember your first kiss?

Monday, 2 December 2013

eBay - My Tenth Anniversary

Today is the tenth anniversary of the day I opened an account with eBay.  I opened it at the time to sell a telephone system at work that we no longer had any use for.  Since then I have gone on to sell approximately 750 items, and purchase about 500 items.  My feedback currently stands at 1106.  Therefore at least 150 people haven't bothered to leave feedback!  I always leave feedback but have only ever left negative feedback 4 times.  

The most expensive item I've ever sold on eBay was my car in 2011 which I sold for £1500, and the most expensive thing I've ever bought on eBay was my Nexus 7 (32gb) which I paid £180 for.  I always prefer to buy things on ebay rather than Amazon if at all possible, because a) Amazon pays very little tax in the UK, and b) it is possible to find better bargains on Ebay than Amazon. Oh, and c) you get nectar points with every pound spent on eBay.

I look forward to the next ten years on eBay!

What about you - do you use ebay for either buying or selling?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Pink Floyd - Please stop ripping us off!

And so - to the latest music news - Pink Floyd (or possibly their label EMI) have just released 3 boxed sets of albums - yes that's right THREE BOXED SETS.  Boxed set 1 - Discovery, Boxed set 2 - Experience and box set 3 - Immersion. Each of these boxed sets is designed for a different type of Pink Floyd fan, and each boxed set retails for around £140.  Yes, £140!

Now I am a massive Pink Floyd fan and have bought all of their albums, from Piper at the Gates of Dawn to the Division Bell, many of them in two formats (Vinyl and CD) and I'm sure there are many new and interesting variants of their tracks amongst these new boxed sets.  However I won't be buying them.  You see not so long ago (2006), Pink Floyd launched Pulse, a boxed set, said at the time to be the definitive Pink Floyd boxed set.   In 2000 they launched Is There Anybody Out There" a definitive live boxed set collection.  How many more ways can they come up with ways to fleece their fans?

Their classic 1973 album "Dark Side of The Moon" contained a track called "Money" which kind of encouraged you to believe that there was much more to life than money and that greed and avarice were bad things, not good ones.  In 1975, their other classic album "Wish you Were Here" contained a track entitled "Welcome To The Machine",  a track that explained to listeners what happened when bands were sucked in and sucked dry by the music publishing industry.  So, Pink Floyd - if you get chance, as you count the ever increasing royalties that drop in through your letterboxes (surely each of you has enough money by now!), contemplate the lyrics to your past hits and


Monday, 23 September 2013


Ok, if you're looking to save money, I have a handy tip for you. Pin back those ears and listen carefully. Ok Don't buy bottled water! Is that clear enough? Let me explain why.
In a recent test carried out by the BBC on New Street railway station in Birmingham, England, researchers asked 100 people to drink two different bottles of water and say which they thought was best. The people didn't know which was bottled water and which was ordinary tap water. Out of the 100 people - 89 - yes 89 chose tap water as the better tasting of the two waters.
On average, tap water costs 0.1 pence per litre (thats less than 1 cent per gallon for you Americans out there). Bottled water costs around 50 pence per litre! Thats 500 times as much! And it don't taste so nice!

So, if you're going out and you plan to take some water with you, grab an empty plastic bottle, fill it up from your tap (faucet), and away you go. I have never bought bottled water in my life and I certainly don't plan to start now.

Friday, 2 August 2013

So - what do we call the decade?

In the 1970s it was easy. We just called the decade the 70's.
The same principle worked pretty well for the 80's and 90's too.
But when the new millennium dawned we were all presented with a big problem - what to call the decade?

I always called that decade the oh-ohs, although the press seemed to go for the expression "the noughties" which I always thought was awful!  I mean - The Noughties - it just sounds too much like "the naughties" - horrible!    Anyway, that isn't my problem - 


I started off by calling it the Tens - but that just sounds terrible! A friend on another website suggested that we call it "the Teenage Years" but that doesn't work either. That would mean we were ignoring the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, and we can't do that!  So - does anyone have any ideas - 

What do we call this current decade?  This is important!

Friday, 31 May 2013

The Last of the Cassette Tapes

Had to make a terrible decision yesterday.  I'm tidying out our loft in readiness for our forthcoming house move and it's a mammoth task!  There is stuff in our loft that went up there the day we moved here in 1985 and has not come down since!

Anyway, I was going through stuff up there yesterday when I came across all of my cassette tapes, all stored in cassette briefcases for ease of transporting them to my car. There must have been around 250 of them, nearly all recorded by me.  Looking through them, it was like a trip down  memory lane - I could remember  recording a lot of them, and I had written the date that I'd made the the recording on the cassette wrapper. Some albums were taped in 1977!

I could remember putting my cassette collection in the loft - it was just after I'd bought my first CD multi change player and had it installed in my car. That meant I could then take 6 CDs with me on any car journey and not have to move to change the CD. So the cassette collection was consigned to the loft.  All 250 cassettes; each one had been painstakenly recorded and re-recorded until I was satisfied with the quality.

After a long long internal debate, I threw all of them into the dustbin - after all I no longer have a cassette player - with the exception of four.  These 4 were all taped from radio shows, one was Alan Freeman from his Saturday afternoon rock show from the late 70s, two were tapes of the Jonathan Ross show from the 90's and one was "Home Truths", a fantastic radio programme that the fantastic late, great John Peel used to present every Saturday morning on Radio 4, until his untimely death in 2005. I'm going to get the contents of these 4 cassettes transferred to MP3 so that I can save them forever.   The rest of my beautiful, painstakenly built-up cassette collection - some 400 albums - is now in the dustbin! I am moved to tears - but as someone once said - We have to move on.

With tears in my eyes.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Top 100 Albums of All Time

Well, I am flabbergasted!   As you probably know I’m an avid collector of lists, and the lists that I collect more than any other are lists of the top 100 albums of all time.  The first list I ever acquired covering this, was in the  NME dated February 1974, and ever since then I’ve had a fascination with lists covering this subject.  I have about 25 different lists of top 100 albums, from such diverse origins as NME, Melody Maker, Q Magazine, Radio 1, Channel 4 and latterly Radio 2.  On top of this I have a number of published books which list the top 1000 albums of all time. I definitely regard myself as something of an expert when it comes to these type of lists.  There are certain things that always manifest themselves in these lists.  Firstly the following artists are always in the top 20.  Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones (plus generally The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”).  Sometimes the Stone Roses and Oasis would also occupy one of the top 20 positions.  “Rumours” would always be in the top 20. The Sex Pistols would generally have a place in the top 20.  This is true of all the lists.  Occasionally there are aberrations, which are only to be expected in lists of this type, as younger voters tend to be influenced by so-so albums that were released only a year or two before the list was published.  So, for example, in Q’s top 100 album list issued in January 2003, as well as all the usual suspects in the top 20, we have, bizarrely Radiohead’s “OK Computer” in at number 2.  A strange choice but there only because it had been released only 5 years earlier and was still popular with the youngsters.  Of course by the time the next list was published (Channel  4, 2006) it was nowhere to be seen.  There were many things that remained a constant throughout all of these lists. Firstly they were always “rock oriented” that is to say that rock albums dominated the top 100.  There would be the occasional soul albums (Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Al Green) and the occasional reggae album (Bob Marley) and a sprinkling of pop (Madonna, Pet Shop Boys,  Michael Jackson) but generally the list would be composed of rock albums.  Secondly “the Greats” would always dominate the prime positions ( currently in front of me I have Colin Larkin’s list, published in 2000, in which, of the top ten albums, five slots were occupied by the Beatles.)   

So, I know my top 100. I know what to expect in the top 100.  I know what not to expect in the top 100.  But this brings me to Easter Monday, when Radio 2 played a new Top 100, as voted by 100,000 R2 listeners voting online in February 2013.  This list contained a few rules – unusual for a top 100 list. One rule was that no artist could be featured more than once – a strange rule, as this meant that, say if 10,000 people had voted for “Dark Side of The Moon” and 9,000 people voted for “The Wall” that the 9,000 votes would be totally discounted, which seemed rather harsh to me. It also meant that no group or artist could dominate  any section of the top 100.  Another rule was that no compilation or soundtrack or “best of” album would qualify for a position.  Fair enough.

Well I started listening at around 7.30am.  Tracks from the top 100 were being played in descending order  every 15 minutes.  And it was obvious by around 9.30am that this was  going to be like no other list.  At around 11.30 am they played “China Girl” from David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” album.  This meant that David Bowie was at number 61!  Impossible!  Firstly, everyone knows that David’s two greatest albums are “Hunky Dory” and “Ziggy Stardust” so how could “Let’s Dance” possibly make it to the chart? Secondly what the hell was the most significant pop star of the 20th century doing at number 61!  Strange, weird things continued to be revealed during the afternoon, and it was with a quiet sense of foreboding that I downloaded the full list from the Radio 2 webpage on Tuesday morning.  Holy Shit!  What kind of a top 100 was this!

Coldplay’s “A Rush of Blood To The Head” was at number one!  Never before seen in any top 10! Ever!

Keane (who the fuck are Keane?) were at number two with “Hopes & Fears”! Never heard of it!

Duran Duran were at number 3 with “Rio”! Well I have Rio and it’s not a bad album, but never before had I ever seen it feature in any top 10.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side was at no 4 (thank god!) but then Dido’s  “No Angel” was at no 5!

The Stones were at 6 and the Beatles were at 8, but nevertheless this was the weirdest top 100 chart I had ever seen in my whole life!  Shania Twain was in it! Yes, you heard me right - Shania Twain!  Kylie Minogue was in it!  Can you imagine that – Kylie Minogue in a top 100 album list! Incredible! Chic were in the list. Chic! I would rather die than listen to a Chic album.

It was then that it dawned on me.  I had lost touch. I had lost touch with the music that younger people are listening to. I’d imagined that the typical Radio 2 listener was like me – 54 and a dyed-in-the-wool rock aficionado.  But looking at this list I can see that this isn’t the case. The average R2 listener must be between 35 and 40 and listening to piles of shit! James Blunt was in this chart!  Who the hell is James Blunt?  Sade was in this chart!  Who?

So that’s it. Collecting of top 100 album lists is over for me. When I don’t know, or don’t even want to know half of the artists who are featured in the list, then it’s not really a list for me.  My eyes have been opened. I have become “old”.  Shit!


Saturday, 30 March 2013

*Dark Side of The Moon*


40 years ago, on 31st March 1973, the album *“Dark Side of The Moon”* by Pink Floyd made its first appearance in the UK charts.  It was to remain in the charts for 5 years, finally exiting in May 1978.
It went on to sell approximately 50 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling albums of all time.   The strange thing was, although other best sellers like “Thriller” and “Rumours” sold similar numbers, they were commercial accessible albums  with tracks that appealed to people aged 8 to 80.  Dark Side wasn’t like that.   It was “Prog-Rock” and back in 1973, the only people who listened to prog-rock were hippies, left-wingers and members of the underground movement.   When it was first released, me and my friends wouldn’t have been seen dead with it. We were into Bowie,  T. Rex, Alice Cooper, Slade and Roxy Music.  But somehow, over a period of time the album grew on everyone, and by the spring of ’74 it was very cool to be seen with a copy of “Dark Side” tucked under your arm.  It had gone from being “underground” to being “cool” and album sales shot up.  All this is not really surprising, when you consider the content of the album. It’s about physical violence, travelling, money, religion, madness and death, subjects not easily ignored.   It’s a brilliant album, and if you haven’t heard it before, then go download a copy now and check it out.

It is definitely in my top five favourite albums of all time, and I can’t see a day when it will lose its slot in my all time favourites.

Monday, 28 January 2013


I have come across what I believe is the first instance of the Fourth Wall being breached. The Fourth Wall, for the uninitiated, is the unwritten rule that comic book characters do not acknowledge that they themselves are in a comic book. It is an unwritten rule, established between the author and the reader, and it helps to maintain the fiction that the comic book characters are  acting out a real-life story.   

In the 70s, this rule was broken regularly as comic-book artists experimented and broke new ground, but this is the first instance I have found of this rule being broken in the 60s. 

In this cover (from Jan 1968) we see Lois Lane ripping part of the cover of the comic, to establish the fact that she is no longer Superman's girlfriend.  This action, of course, is technically impossible, and by tearing a section of comic out, Lois breaches the fourth wall. The cover artist for this comic was Curt Swan, my favourite Superman artist.   If anyone knows of any earlier breaches than this I'd be really interested to see them.