September – Cado Belle

This song reminds me how fucking lonely I am, despite all the people around me that obviously care for me.

Posted in Significant Music Tagged with:

Not a monster, at all

I’ve just been rereading the entry from last year about Frasier. It’s about 12 months ago and it made me cry. I think it will always make me cry. This may be a catalyst that’s releasing all the worries and frustrations currently in my life or it may just be simply that I miss him.

At the beginning of the year we brought Beth into our home from the RSPCA. She’s an oddball of a cat. Her cat skills are woeful sometimes and at other times she shows skills I would never expect to see in a moggie.
One of those is her compassion.  I’ve known dogs that become demonstrably concerned when a person is upset, but never a cat.

2013-08-21 10.29.48-1

Beth was on a chair next to me while I was working and was asleep when I started to cry.

She woke up and meowed at me. A gentle meow coupled with a swivelled head to see what was wrong.

Beth can be a monster, a word that’s become her nickname in the house. She climbs things and knocks things over; she pesters Meg (our other cat) and generally gets into mischief.

But it’s worth while putting up with all that. Just for these sweet moments. The same sweetness that Frasier often used to show.

I was listening to Jon Gomm’s album Secrets Nobody Keeps while I was getting upset. So, here’s probably the most famous track from it, Passion Flower:


Posted in Cats

Music from under my desk

I moved into this house over twenty years ago. A few years later we converted the box room into an office for me, complete with a L-shaped desk.
Sitting under the desk is my singles case. There’s maybe 400 of them in there ranging from the extremely popular through less popular( but still well known) to the downright obscure.

There’s some Talking Heads, some Phil Collins, there’s some Emerson, Lake and Palmer, there’s a lot on the Stiff Records label, there’s some oddities – anyone for the Pink Panther Theme?
And then there’s the stuff from the mid to late 70s and early 80s. Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, X-Ray Spex, The Undertone and maybe The Radio Stars you’ll know.

But do you know Snatch, Patrick Fitzgerald  or John Dowie? They’re all there, mostly in alphabetical order.

I think I feel a new theme coming on.

Posted in Music from under my desk

Love Remembered – Focus

Frasier, resting

Frasier, resting

Until recently I haven’t owned a playable copy of Focus III, the album this track appears on. Love Remebered is one of those tracks I wonder how I managed to forget. I’m not a musician; I learned very early on in my life that it was a talent I would never have. Not even a little bit. Consequently, I marvel at people who are. I marvel even more at people who not only can write a good tune but also choose to play it as a set piece. It’s not just a base excuse to prove their soloing credentials, it’s a composition. A carefully crafted snippet of music. There to exist in one form and one form only. How confident in your composition and playing skills must you be to allow yourself the freedom to sit back and allow the melody to talk for you?

The track itself doesn’t remind me of anyone or anything, but does give me a notion of a wonderful time in my life. A time of exploration. A time of new friends, new experiences (including music).

Yesterday I had to book Frasier into the vets for his final trip. He’s had chronic renal failure for some years and it’s finally caught up with him. I was wondering about writing this entry about him and Love Remembered popped into my head. I’ve no idea why. I thought about it and realised how appropriate it is. It’s a sweet, peaceful tune. Very like Frasier’s nature. In the 14 years I’ve known him he’s never once shown the slightest hint of agression. He’s a beautiful lad and I’m going to miss him terribly.

I took the featured photo of him yesterday while he was sitting in the window watching the world go by. Sitting in his favourite place on his last full day at home. I said goodbye to him this morning, when we were alone.

I told him it had been a privilege to be included in his life and that he had enriched mine far more than I ever imagined an animal could. I’ve no idea if there’s an afterlife, or if our spirits move on, but I wished him well on his journey. I told him I hope his spirit goes on to lift somebody else’s soul. That his sweet, wonderful nature would make somebody else happy.

(Please excuse any spelling errors or typos in this post. Firefox isn’t checking the spelling and, frankly, I don’t really care at the moment)

Posted in Cats, Significant Music Tagged with: , ,

Is this regular?

Despite the best of intentions I seem to be managing one post roughly ever 12 months. That makes this not some much a blog but an annual event.

So, what is this post about? It’s about Twitter. Well, sort of. This post should be linked to @Kotsiphas and the Tweets fed to @KotsiphasMusic from via some Wizardry using IFTTT are now showing up in the side panel.

All very Social Media, don’t cha’ know.

Posted in Site news Tagged with: ,

Willie The Kid – French Lessons

Album: Homework
Artist: French Lessons
Released: August 1982
MP3: French Lessons web site

“Lovers meet in unexpected places…”
And so do friends.

Yesterday a friendship came crashing down around me, and it was entirely my fault.

It was an intense, deep, passionate friendship that grew rapidly. If we ever speak again it will never be the same. I am full of sorrow and a great sense of loss. My friend is very unlikely to ever read this but, if they do, I hope they understand how deeply I will miss them and how foolish I feel for my words and actions.

If asked for a favourite song I would have difficulty choosing between so many. However, very high on the list would be Willie the Kid. Written by Doug Halligan and recorded by French Lessons, a local band I worked for in the 1980s, I fell in love with it immediately. I like the story it tells and the way it tells it. I love the verse-less format of the song and it’s sung by Tony Hall, probably my favourite singer of all time. There’s no link between this song and the friendship but how we met was unusual and that brought this to mind.

The MP3 is taken from a cassette tape recording. Consequently the quality is rather poor, but you’ll get the idea.

Posted in Significant Music Tagged with: ,

Well Kept Secret – John Martyn

Album: Well Kept Secret
Artist: John Martyn
Released: August 1982
Napster: John Martyn – Well Kept Secret
Spotify: John Martyn – Well Kept Secret

This blog post is based on an original Livejournal entry made on 17th February 2009.

John Martyn passed away on 29th January, 2009. I won’t claim to be a great fan of his music but a number of his albums hold a special place in my heart. As music does, for me and many people, certain tracks or albums bring back memories of people and places.
One such album for me is Well Kept Secret. This isn’t one of his most famous albums (and certainly not one of his most critically acclaimed). However it reminds me of 1984 and a flat in Glasgow that I shared with Rob. By 1984 I was a seasoned contractor with 3 previous appointments and 4 years worth of experience. Rob, on the other hand, was winging it through his first.

We spent the evenings smoking dope and listening to each other’s records. Rob played Well Kept Secret to me and I was hooked.
Some time that year we discovered that JM was playing in Glasgow. We managed to get tickets to the gig in a club called Henry Africa’s. It was a great night; a small club with a magic atmosphere and John was superb.

Roll forward 23 years. Rob calls me to say that JM is playing at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

The concert was a great disappointment. It is was wonderful to see John Martyn again but he was pissed. So pissed that I couldn’t understand what he was singing – even when he was singing songs I knew word for word.

I’m so sorry to find that John has gone. I just wish I’d last seen him in Glasgow, in 1984.

Posted in Significant Album, Significant Music Tagged with: , ,

An Electric Storm – White Noise

Album: An Electric Storm
Artist: White Noise
Released: November 1968
Spotify: White Noise – An Electric Storm

I’m unsure when I first heard this album. I think Robbie or Steve may have introduced me to it—I certainly remember arguing with Robbie about The Visitation. If that’s correct then I probably first heard it around 1975 or 1976. But that doesn’t matter, this article is about the album and my relationship with it and Johno.

In the summer of 1976 I found myself in permanent employment for the first time. As with most of my life I can only mark time by remembering a piece of music and finding the dates that surround it. I know I started work in August or September 1976 because I remember hearing Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earthband playing on the radio. The long hot summer of 1976 is entwined with memories of time spent at New Brighton and Derby swimming pools, games of Crown Green Bowls and evenings in the pub.

One evening was spent at the Black Horse in Wallasey Village. To be honest, I don’t know if this was 1976, 1977 or slightly later again. The significant point is that Johno was on his motorbike and, at the end of the night, ferried everybody home, one by one. This is a very early recollection of him but it certainly wasn’t the first time I’d met him. I think, by then, we were already good friends. The memorable journey on his bike to New Brighton, via Liscard Village, may have been earlier. Memorable for me because I thought we were going through the front of an oncoming bus on Rake Lane; memorable for Johno because he thought we were coming off as we negotiated the roundabout in Liscard Village.

The late seventies are full of memories of Johno for me. I can still see him singing Ali Baba’s Camel in the Alpine Rooms in Liscard. We played squash regularly at Leasowe Leisure Centre, passing a house which often had a motorbike in the front room. “May you never have motorbikes in your front room” was often Johno’s parting shot to me. We drank gallons of tea and ate rejected chocolate bars supplied by my farther (Roundtree Lion Bars being a favourite). And we listening to music.

Lots of music, often including An Electric Storm. I think Johno already knew it but, again, I’m uncertain. His favourite line was from Here Come the Fleas—”Be quiet in there, a man can’t even hear a good steel band going”. I think he was also impressed with the slapping and “hurr” noises in My Game of Loving.

Rob Johnston passed away on Monday 27th December 2010 at 19:50. He’d been suffering from a terrible illness that took him very quickly.

Please seek the album out and listen to it. Listen to the sonic dynamics in the recording (something you can even feel from an MP3 copy), listen to the humour in the music. Listen to the sweet melodies carefully, painstakingly, crafted by David Vorhaus, Delia Derbyshire at al. And if you can, imagine a friendship that took a simple, soft route into my life and, sadly, drifted away just as easily.

May you never have motorbikes in your front room.

Posted in Significant Album, Significant Music Tagged with: , ,

Theme for a day

It did snow heavily last night. When I came to clear the car there was 6″ sitting on the roof.
Because of the bad weather I checked with my regular opponent about our game of badminton tomorrow morning (Sunday). Before I spoke to him I asked his wife if there was any news about an extremely ill mutual friend. The news was very bad; he doesn’t have very long at all.
My relationship with many, if not all, of my friends is marked out by musical milestones. Albums, singles, songs or tunes that either remind me of them or stand at a waypoint in our friendship. In some cases this is shared, in most it is mine alone.
There is one specific album that will forever remind me of happy, healthy times with Rob as a friend. So I will write about it soon. It will be the first entry based on the theme of significant albums.
A blog needs a theme and I’ve found one today. Thank you Rob, I will praise our friendship soon.

Posted in Random thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,