Wednesday, 17 October 2018

California Dreamin' - The Mama's & Papa's

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 14 we have California Dreamin' by The Mama's & Papa's (1965).

I have had a sneaky admiration for the Mama's & Papa's ever since i saw a documentary which revealed them to be a bunch of drug addled sex maniacs which was very much not the image i had of them beforehand.
They always had good harmonies with the blend between the female and male voices just right and it comes together brilliantly on this song about longing for the warmth of Los Angeles during a cold winter in New York City.
The story behind this song was the Mama's & Papa's were the backing group for someone else who was going to sing this but then decided they could do it better and recorded it themselves and as they just went over the tape of the other guy, you can still hear him faintly in the background when they start singing the first line about all the leaves being brown.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Still Here Against The Odds

Despite the odds it looks as though i'm going to make it to the end of another day but when i look at the odds of death and injury from Liverpool Victoria Insurance, i'm quite impressed i'm still here at all. 
I woke up in bed this morning without injuring myself on the mattress or pillow (1:2000) and survived my shower (1:11,469) and even managed to successfully negotiate avoiding emergency treatment after being injured by the jam jar (1:1000).
After not dying by a plunging elevator (1:10 million) i even managed to avoid being killed by a neighbours dog (1:18 million) to drive to work and arrive not dead (1:100) although the odds of dying in a train crash are better (1:500,000) so maybe i'll go by rail from now on just to be safe.
Thanking my lucky stars death by an accident at work (1:40,000) was not an issue and i didn't die in a terror attack (1:20 million) and despite a grey and stormy looking sky, lightning didn't get me (1:10 million), nor an asteroid (1:200,000), a falling aeroplane (1:250,000) or an extra large piece of hail braining me (1:734 million).
Although i am now home i'm still not safe as i still have to negotiate the sofa where i have odds of being killed by my own furniture of 1:20 million but at least i think i am safe of being killed of a shark (1:11 million) or a bear (1:2 million) and as i'm over 150 miles away from a nuclear facility, i like my odds of not going to meet my maker courtesy of a nuclear power accident (1:10 million).
Now all i have to do is safely negotiate the pillow and mattress again and hope that all this new fracking doesn't increase my odds of dying in earthquake (1:148,756) so i can do it all over again tomorrow.

Category 6 Hurricane Coming Soon

Currently the Saffir–Simpson scale for Hurricanes only go up to 5 but a combination of warmer oceans and more water in the atmosphere maybe they should consider adding a 6th Category to their scale.
When the scale was developed in 1971, Meteorologists never imagined that there would be a need for a category 6 storm, with winds that exceed 200 miles per hour but as there is 8% more water vapor circulating throughout the atmosphere now combined with warmer temperatures the potential for a catastrophic category 6 hurricane is growing.
The Saffir-Simpson scale sets the Category 5 at winds over 157 mph but this century we have seen nine hurricanes over 175 mph winds and Patricia in 2015 reached 215mph.    
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology had to add a new colour to the top of its scale as temperatures soared and in the age of global warming and extreme weather events we will need to rewrite the measures across the world as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, found that it is 90% certain that heatwaves will increase further in length and severity, as will extreme high tides.
It is 66% likely that hurricanes and typhoon winds will get faster and that intense rain will increase, as will global droughts.
The climate scientists are turning up the volume of their warnings and Government action is needed to curb emissions to drown out the crazy and deadly mewling from the ignorant sceptics and other useful idiots of the fossil fuel interests.

Losing My Religion - REM

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 15 we have Losing My Religion by REM (1991).

Michael Stipe admitted that this song was life changing for him and his band and it made them superstars overnight and the video still sweeps up at any 'best video' countdowns on the music channels or the ones that still play music anyway.
Although it isn't actually about religion, the video is full of religious iconography which distracts you from the fact that nobody knows what the lyrics are about.
Along with the striking video, the mandolin is an inspired choice of instrument and it's high pitch sound is probably what raises this song above the average.
REM as a band seemed to have a brilliant couple of years with some great songs from two amazing albums in the early to mid 90's and then just go pfft and wander away but it had such a lasting impression on me that i had this song as my ringtone on my Nokia 3310 for ages.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Turning The World Vegetarian

As a vegetarian i know that i am on a sticky wicket but with 12 years left to save the Planet the time for being coy has gone so let's grab the bull by the horn, or rather grab the fork off meat eaters because we need to have a conversation about how eating meat is destroying the planet. 
The climate minister, Claire Perry, shied away when challenged on the habit of carnivores eating us all to destruction because they can get a bit cranky when told to eat less of the wildlife, all that red meat coursing through their system i guess.
Following the report that global warming will be beyond control in 12 years’ time came another major report pointing out that meat production is one of the biggest contributors to global warming through the use of water to the amount of agricultural land given over to grazing and feed crops to rainforest destruction for animal feed.
The Government cannot just ban meat and the carnivores don't seem perturbed by the eyeballs and scrapings off the abattoir floor in their sausages or the cancer caused by eating meat but the Government does have other means in its arsenal.
It could introduce a meat tax, making it so expensive that meat is removed from many dining tables or throwing money at artificial meat research or making vegetarian dishes cheaper but what certainly won't work its appealing to the better nature of meat eaters to cut down on their meat consumption because let's face it, they eat other living creatures so concern for others isn't big on their agenda.

Brexit Jargon Explained

For the past two years it has been difficult to avoid hearing all things Brexit but as we approach March things are going to shift up a few gears as the Brexit negotiations intensify but it can be hard to follow all the jargon so i have produced a guide of the most common phrases we will be bored to death by come March 31st 2019.

Article 50: The mechanism that allows a country to leave the EU.
Backstop: A customs plan to avoid a hard border between non-EU Northern Ireland and EU affiliated Ireland
Brexiteers: Those who voted for Brexit and want to break away from the EU completely.
Canada Style deal: No customs duty on EU exports to Canada or Canadian exports to the EU.
Canada Plus Plus Plus: An upgrade of the deal struck between the EU and Canada.
Chequers Deal: The cabinet deal seeking to keep the trade in goods flowing between by the UK and the EU.
Cliff edge: The UK falling out of the EU without a deal in place.
Common Rule Book: Aligning UK legislation on goods with EU standards and regulations.
Customs Union: The way no duties are paid on goods between EU states and how they all apply the same charge to non-EU imports.
Divorce bill: The amount the UK has to pay to settle it's bill with the European Union.
Hard Brexit: Leaving the EU and cutting all ties such as membership of the single market and the customs union
Remoaners: Those who voted to remain in the EU and deeply regret the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.
Single Market: The EU as one territory without internal borders or obstacles to free movement of goods and services.
Soft Brexit: Maintaining close ties with the EU and retain Single Market and Customs Union membership.
Transition deal: A bridging deal to smooth the transition between Brexit day in March 2019 and the start of a future trade agreement

Let's Stick Together - Bryan Ferry

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 16 we have Let's Stick Together by Bryan Ferry (1976).

Seems like every man and his dog has had a go at this song but the Bryan Ferry version is the one i reach for when i want a song about fidelity and wedding vows.
The Bass keeps the tune bouncing along and the short, sharp blasts from the saxophone with Ferry's silky vocals, it's a fun sort of song although kind of ironic that then girlfriend of Ferry, Jerry Hall, is in the music video and if Ferry was singing the song for her, it didn’t do the trick as she was soon to embark on her chief gold-digger tour and left him for Mick Jagger soon afterwards.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Could This Be The Week Theresa May Falls?

The imminent demise of Theresa May has been talked about ever since she took over from David Cameron in 2016 but she is still there ducking and diving but if she is going to fall then this week looks likely which is why it has been dubbed Theresa Hell Week. 
First up are the rumours that a further four members of her cabinet are preparing join the two already gone and quit if the Prime Minister tries to make a Brexit deal that is not to their liking but if Mrs may makes it to next Sunday with an Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Penny Mordaunt and
Chris Grayling shaped hole in her cabinet then she can cope with that.
Secondly, and more troubling, is the Northern Irish Democratic Unionists, a party of just 10 MPs who are threatening to vote against the Government if they don’t get exactly what they want which is parity with the rest of the UK but which they won't get because of the border they share with EU remaining Republic of Ireland.
As Theresa May has a majority of 13 and there are as many as 40 of her own MP's not including the 10 DUP ready to vote against her, the Commons defeat resulting in a lack of confidence vote would either herald a bruising leadership challenge or usher in a snap election which would risk tipping the Tories out of office that would in all possibility put Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10.
The Labour Party have laid a trap that whatever deal Mrs May manages to come up with, it will not pass Labour’s 'six tests' because those tests were designed not to be passable so she can't rely on Labour votes saving her as the collapse of the government and a snap general election is exactly what Labour want.
This makes it very hard to see how Mrs May can strike any agreement with the EU for which there will be parliamentary approval as the opposition has no incentive to help her out and the Democratic Unionists are lining up alongside the Tory hard-Brexiters which makes the maths impossible for Theresa May to avoid a humiliating defeat regardless of what deal she brings back from Brussels this week.
In the background rumbles on the flat out lying over the Universal Credit system they are introducing so there may be some sympathy for Theresa May but then you remember the austerity, the cuts, the running down of the NHS, the Hostile Environment idea and the general awfulness of everything they have done and that their problems are self-inflicted and you think good, hope her week is as painful as everyone seems to think it will be.

We Could All Be Luddites Soon

People seem to have the impression that the Luddites were against technology but what they were actually fighting against was technology taking their jobs which as it turned out, they were right about as their jobs were taken by machinery.
Spin on 200 years and research by the cross-party Social Market Foundation (SMF) think*tank, found that a four-day working week could become commonplace in Britain as automation and artificial intelligence increase in the workplace.
In a brilliant bit of spin it is being put forward as a good thing as it will result in giving workers more leisure time and making for a better work-life balance.
Scott Corfe, the reports author said: 'If we manage this revolution properly, workers will get new choices, including whether to reduce their working week and having more leisure time'.
No mention of the days less wages though funnily enough unless companies are planning to pay employee's for the day they are not at work so enjoy more time away from work and enjoy your leisure time with that 20% pay cut.
If Ai and robotics can do the job of a person for one day, how long before companies decide they can do it for all five days and not have to pay a human at all, that's where this could be heading.

World Day Against the Death Penalty Day

On World Day Against the Death Penalty Day, i have never understood the hypocrisy of the state killing someone for killing someone because apart from being a show for other people
to hopefully act as a deterrent and satisfying a need for revenge, what does it do?
For the state to take a life as a punishment for taking a life doesn't seem a very civilised way of doing things but despite it being abolished in most continues, it still goes on and in 2017 there were 33 countries who dealt with their more unsavoury members of society by shooting, hanging, injecting or in some cases chopping their head of with a sword in the town centre.
Amnesty International have gathered together the statistics and the top state executor is China who refused to hand over the data but Amnesty consider the executed number is measured in the thousands.
The second highest state executor was Iran (507+) then Saudi Arabia (146), Iraq (125+), Pakistan (60+), Egypt (35+), Somalia (24+), USA(23) and Jordan (15). 
While 33 countries carried out executions in 2017, the Amnesty figure reflects a decline of use of the death penalty with 21 countries that did not carry out an execution despite not having abolished the death penalty.
It still means that that there are nearly five times as many countries not executing prisoners as those that still do and looking at the names of the countries on the list, some you are not surprised to see there while some you hope would be embarrassed to find themselves included with such company.

Memory - Elaine Paige

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 17 we have Memory by Elaine Paige (1981).

I have never seen the film Cats and i'm not one for show tunes generally but as i mentioned previously, i do love a song that starts quiet and grows and this is about as good as it gets for that. 
When the strings put in an appearance halfway through they catch you and then when they go up a notch with Elaine Paige's amazingly powerful voice, it's goose bumps up the spine time.
All that and Andrew Lloyd Webber's nostalgic lyrics about smiling at the old days and 'burnt out ends of smokey days' taken from a poem by T.S. Eliot, a beautiful song.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Western Morals & Saudi Arabia

Bit of an awkward moment for the US and UK over the apparent killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Arabian Consulate in Turkey.
Britain has demanded answers from the Saudi Arabians while Donald Trump has vowed 'severe punishment' if Saudi authorities were found to have played a role in killing Khashgoggi although both have ruled out imposing sanctions, halting arms sales and both nations will be still be turning up at a conference to be held at Riyadh, dubbed 'Davos in the desert'.
Neither have implied what punishment the Saudi's will face especially as they didn't seem overly concerned by the tens of thousands killed in Yemen by the weapons both nations had sold to Saudi Arabia so the death of one journalist isn't going to overly perturb them.
America's multi-billion arm deals and Britain's desperation for post Brexit deals will always mean blind eye's will be turned towards Saudi Arabia so severe punishment and demanding answers will mean nothing changes and everything will carry on as before which should be a lesson all the other tyrants currently stinking up the World should be quick to learn, the West's morals take a backseat if you spend enough money with us.

New Rose - The Damned

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 18 we have New Rose by The Damned (1976).

With a drummer called Rats Scabies and a bass player called Captain Sensible, you should know that you are going to get from The Damned and this is two and a half minutes of frantic energy, a stuttering three-chord riff, stomping drums and one of the best punk records to come from that era and is generally recognised as the UK's first punk single.
In contrast to some of the genre's barking, Dave Vanian actually sings but don't let this fool you because if your windows panes are not shaking then you are just not playing it at the required volume to do it justice.
Still going today, they probably don't get the acclaim they deserve and if he had bothered to turn up for the auditon, Sid Vicious was pencilled in to be the bands singer but as only Dave Vanian showed up, he got the job which as things turned out, was a good thing.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 19 we have Summer Breeze Holiday by Seals & Croft (1972). 

Of all the seasons, Summer isn't my favourite but there are some decent songs regarding the season of wasp stings, sunburn and third degrees burn off your car seats and this is one of my favourites.
The Isley Brothers may be more connected to this song but it isn't a patch on the original Seals & Croft version which i first saw on the Old Grey Whistle test years after the song came out and i think was another commercial, this one for fabric softener. 
A great, simple, feel-good Summer song with a nice melody and good harmonies which romanticizes those long, sultry summer nights, sitting outside drinking something chilled and alcoholic rather than the reality which is sitting outside and spending five minutes slapping ants off your legs before running away from a large bee that seems to mistake your head for a sunflower.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

No, No, Yeah Actually

Asked about the Times story on Monday which said as many as 3m people will be worse off once Universal Credit is introduced to replace the current benefits system, the prime minister’s spokesman said that no one would lose out and this morning, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, told MPs no one would lose benefits when moving on to universal credit and 'not to believe everything in the press' and 'we are making sure no-one sees a reduction in their benefits when we move them on to universal credit'.
Spin forward a couple of hours and the person overseeing the introduction Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, announces 'I’ve said we made tough decisions. Some people will be worse off'.
Proof then that the Conservatives are bringing in a system which will make the poorest in society 'worse off' and doing it quite willingly.
The Nasty Party label is still thoroughly well deserved. Roll on the next election when we can rid ourselves of this god-awful lying Government.

Michael Pays A Visit To Florida & Georgia

I didn't catch the names of the CNN reporters stood outside while Hurricane Michael lashed Florida but they should find a little extra in their pay packet this month because they did a sterling job.
It's ironic that Florida and then Georgia got the full wrath of Mother Nature and both states have climate change deniers running things and a 155mph wind tearing through their neighbourhood won't change their minds especially in the case of Florida's Rick Scott who wouldn't want any negative impact on the financial returns from the energy companies he invests in.
Georgia's senators, David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, both congratulated President Trump when he pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and are currently watching the roofs fly off and trees snap in their back yard thanks to a storm which fed off of the warm ocean waters made warmer because of climate change.
I hope everybody stays safe but you know where the problem lays and it's at the door of the idiots in positions to change course who continue to deny that storms are getting worse, droughts are getting deeper, flooding more severe and droughts more deadly because of what us humans continue to do to the planet.

Will You - Hazel O'Connor

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 20 we have Will You by Hazel O' Connor (1980).

Very much a song of two halves, the first summing up the nerves of meeting someone, the second half an extended haunting saxophone solo outro which i can take or leave but the first half is more than enough to make it one of the greats.
Slow and haunting, it plays out perfectly the time when we have all been there alone with someone you like for the first time, playing it cool but really a bag of nerves, sipping tea and not knowing quite what to do, wondering if they will stay or politely say goodnight and then the man from the Baker Street video song bursting in and wailing away on a brass instrument, or maybe that was just me.
The sax player,  Wesley Magoogan, cruelly later lost fingers in an accident with a circular saw.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 21 we have Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand (1977).

I heard this song years ago, loved it and then never heard it again until it turned up in National Lampoons European Vacation and then i spent years hunting it down.
If you like a Belgian shouting at you in French while a frantic guitar wails away for three minutes then you will love it and luckily i'm bang up for it so i love this song.
God knows what the Belgian is hollering, 'I am the King of the divan' is the only words i can make out but it's like a massive sugar rush and caffeine hit all wrapped up in one, brilliantly mad and so, so, so very fast paced song which, as the final guitar chord fades away, leaves you dizzy and wondering what the bloody hell was that!!. 
There is an English language version called Jet Boy, Jet Girl which uses the exact same tune but there really hasn't been enough shouty Belgians in music history and not having a clue what the song is about is sometimes a big plus.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Celebrities To Help Trump Carry On Being Awful

What must come as a crushing blow for America's white supremacists, Taylor Swift has broken her self-imposed and come out as a Trump hating lefty.
In an Instagram post on Sunday night, Swift wrote that she has been reluctant to publicly voice any political opinions but after two years of the Trump Presidency has decided to speak out against the current administration.
In a scare to comedians and journalists everywhere who have a ready made rich source of material, Swift said that part of what made her voice her opinion was the: 'systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color'.
The fear is that Americans will suddenly realise just how much of a bellend they have running the show and force him out and replace him with someone not such a douchebag and return America to normal.  
That just won't do of course, the man's policies are comedy gold so we need to make sure that he finishes the job of making America not so great again so although Taylor Swift may be against him, there are some celebrities who can sprinkle some gold dust over the pussy grabbing liar.
I am therefore calling on celebrity Trump supporters to undo the damage Taylor Swift has caused by doing something to make Trump appear like a proper grown up.
Roseanne Barr, Scott 'Happy Day's Chachi' Baio, Gene Simmons, Clint Eastwood, Mike Tyson, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Lou 'The Hulk' Ferrigno, Hulk Hogan and Kanye West we are looking towards you to keep Trump in power and keep comedians in gags.

Nothing Can Change This Love - Sam Cooke

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 22 we have Nothing Can Change This Love by Sam Cooke (1963).

I was late to Sam Cooke, coming to my attention courtesy of a Levi Jeans advert in the mid 1980's and although he sang many gospel type songs which i don't much care for, this beautiful ballad is lyrically faultless, the sort of end of the night slow song when you and your partner move around in slow circles while the lights come on and the bar staff go around collecting the empty glasses.
It has Cooke's smooth vocals, subtle strings and a tinkering piano which just come together to create a beautiful song about being in love and the first line of 'If I go a million miles away, i'd write a letter each and everyday' sets the tone perfectly and is a sentiment probably highly endorsed by the Post Office.

Monday, 8 October 2018

12 Years To Save The Planet

The authority on all things Global Warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn that the 1.5C rise in global temperatures set in Paris three years ago is fast slipping out of our reach and we are in a headlong rush towards a 2C rise.
What happens if the world warms up by 2C?
Coral Reefs will be wiped out completely, we will lose 18% of insects, 16% of plants and 8% of animals, 420 million more people will be exposed to extreme heatwaves which will increase heat related deaths and diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Lyme disease.
Desertification will result in 10% of arable land being lost and sea levels will rise by 10cm adding 10 million people to the risks of flooding.
The world has already warmed 1C since pre-industrial times and the call that we need rapid and far-reaching changes has gone unheeded for decades and under the current set of circumstances climate scientists expect the temperature rise to be 1.5C in just 12 years, in 2030.
As this report notes we are quickly running out of time but as we have waited so long to act, there are parts of the system that are already out of our hands as ever stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall and rising sea levels are already with us to stay.

Holiday In Cambodia - Dead Kennedys

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 23 we have Holiday In Cambodia by Dead Kennedys (1980).

As i was 11 in 1980 i was confused about a song advertising going on Holiday to Cambodia when on the news was Pol Pot torturing and murdering Cambodians in their hundreds of thousands, turns out i misunderstood.
With jangly guitars, a great hook and lyrics spat at you by Jello Biafra it was bit more tuneful than the punk era music around at the same time, it also has a great solo where that jangly guitar hook seems to break out from the background and takes on a life of it's own for 30 amazing seconds before chants of Pol Pot who i now understand wouldn't have made a particularly good holiday host.  
The line 'Kiss ass while you bitch / So you can get rich / While your boss gets richer off you' is something which i have also used to justify my not doing overtime all these years.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

World Finanaces Run By Idiots

A report by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) has revealed that Global debt has climbed to $247 trillion in the first quarter of 2018 which is 318% of Global gross domestic product.
If you put all the physical money into a bank account then all the money in the World comes to $90.4 trillion so unless i am very much not understanding it, where does the extra $157 trillion being lent out come from?
It can only be electronic money which is shifted from bank computer to bank computer so although it isn't physical money that is lent, at some point it will become so because it will be used to pay for equipment, wages, stock etc.
So all the economies on the planet have a debt of $247 trillion but only has $90.4 trillion in actual cash As this wilful dismissal of countries living within their means seems to have gone on in almost every country on the planet, is it any wonder the whole thing keeps collapsing? And why are we trusting the same people to get us out of the mess when the last crash is still going on after a decade?
The top 10 nations who owe the most are United States ($22.2 trillion), UK ($8.4 trillion), France ($5.6 trillion), Germany ($5.3 trillion), Netherlands ($4.5 trillion), Luxembourg ($3.7 trillion), Japan ($3.5 trillion), Italy ($2.5 trillion), Ireland ($2.3 trillion) and Spain ($2.2 trillion).
Considering that six of the above top ten debt ridden nations are part of the G20 who aim is to discuss and promote international financial stability, then you can understand just why we are in such a mess and have a debt almost 3 times more than we actually have.
If we ran our household accounts as poorly as the so-called experts, then we would be turfed out of our homes and living under a motorway bridge somewhere.

CNN Seems Fine To Me

Since Fox News, along with RT, was removed from the air in the UK for breaching Ofcom’s rules regarding bias and generally being unfair and not balanced, my options for American news coverage is CNN and CNBC and i found myself seeing quite a bit of CNN Live when Hurricane Florence blew through over there the other month.
CNBC seems much more interested in the Economic World and i'm not so CNN was my port of call for all things American.
Now i know CNN get's a regular bashing from Donald Trump but as it is still on our screens after Ofcom's cull of those news outlets that it deems bias so that's in its favour and the items i have seen they appear  a very professional outfit without the hyperbole of Fox and it's presenters who were unashamedly and embarrassingly bias.
The Broadcast Media here, in order to be balanced, must have opposing views on it's items so for example if you have someone pro-Brexit, you must also have a guest who is anti-Brexit which is the reason why Nigel Farage and his awful UKIP come to prominence.
That doesn't seem to be a thing with American News Outlets and admittedly i only saw a narrow band of what CNN do and that was mostly a man stood outside getting battered by 100 mph winds, but unless the rest of their items are wild accusations against the deplorable right-wing which seems to be gripping America at the moment, i see no problem with CNN and obviously neither does Ofcom so i conclude that they present the News as it is and as Trump is such a laughing stock around the World, he just doesn't like that they are not kowtowing to him.
If i lived in America, CNN would be one of my choices of news outlet for finding out exactly what the President was doing in my name.

Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 24 we have Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984).

Those of us of a certain age remember the musical show 'The Tube' and occasionally they would show a late night version to show videos that couldn't be shown in polite tea-time company.
 Frankies Two Tribes was one such recipient and i remember a girls night of alcohol stolen from parents drinks cabinet and cheese and onion crisps while we watched the depiction of the then USA President Ronald Reagan and the then-Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko gouging, biting and generally beating lumps out of each other.
Probably the most recognizable bass line ever which throbs away relentlessly through the song, it was another one which dialed into our Cold War fears of nuclear war and such was my love for this song and early FGTH in general, that i not only bought the single but the 12", the 12" picture disc and put it on my Walkmans cassette mix-tape between each of the other songs.  
Frankie were the bad boys of pop back then and did the ultimate pop group thing of exploding into our charts with 3 number ones and then quietly fading away to leave me with my memories of Holly Johnson in a thong with one painted blue buttock and one red buttock and an angry mother asking me if i knew where her bottles of Babycham had gone.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Golden Brown - The Stranglers

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 25 we have Golden Brown by The Stranglers (1981).

With a nod towards fans of Harpsichord music, The Stranglers wrote this song about Heroin and then denied it was about Heroin before admitting, actually, yeah, it was about Heroin and then confirming what bears do in the woods and that the Pope's hat is indeed hilarious.
It's actually the Harpsichord which makes it, the strange sounding instrument stuttering up and down the scales in the background and subtly continually changing the tempo while the lyrics soothingly tell you that there's never a frown with Golden Brown now shut up and listen to this bangin' harpsichord solo.
At their height The Stranglers were as notorious as the Sex Pistols with drug busts, jail time for possession of heroin, fights and incarceration and with the always angry Hugh Cornwell and punchy Bassist Jean-Jacques Buyrnel that's no surprise but they are still going now but never topped the heights of this brilliant harpsichord driven waltz about hard drugs.

Friday, 5 October 2018

God Save Us From Religion

'But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me' - Luke 19:27

I gave up debating religion a long time ago as no matter how much evidence and proof you offer, the religious folk are to blinkered to see it so save your breath as there is no point, no minds will be changed by logic.   
When Marx famously said that 'religion is the opium of the masses' he meant it was something that kept them docile and controllable and the German couldn't have been more correct as it is exactly what religion is, the most powerful comfort blanket possible.  
Religious groups, believe in their own views and damn all others or worse, as the Jesus quote above shows, kill all others, so quite how religion can considered a force for good is beyond me.
Five minutes of the News will reveal one group killing or oppressing another group because they believe in something different to them so believers fight to their death, or in most cases to the death of others, to hold on to their religion against other religions.
The more science reveals the real truth, the more it is clear that it wasn't the result of a God throwing lightning bolts around which leaves religion as just a cynical way to enforce the founders rules and to make money.
Religion should be an insult to our intelligence but they cherry-pick the bits they like to suit their own beliefs, the full line regarding homosexuals is to consider it wrong and to put them to death but while almost all religions cling to the first bit, you won't get many advocating the second part especially in the Christian World because they find that part repugnant despite it being their God's will and in the same paragraph in the Bible as the first.
Not that religion is entirely to blame for human blood lust, we would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things even if religion didn't exist but religion makes it easier to hate people who don't believe in your flavour of God.
Even worse, by forcing it on a child before they are old enough to go to school just indoctrinates them more fully and perpetuates the myth that some people are 'better' than others.
Religion is nonsense, there is no God or Jesus, they are just a poor copy of the early deities who the rulers used to control the masses and it saddens me to hear our Prime Minister say that her faith in God would help guide our path out of Europe, saddens and bewilders me that our leaders actually believe it and are putting all our futures in the hands of someone who doesn't, and never did, exist.

No Peace Prize For Trump & Kim

Nobody really believed that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un was going to win the Nobel Peace Prize did they?
That Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad won the prize and the £777,000 reward for their work against sexual violence is even more ironic considering that Donald Trump is a self-confessed sex pest who recently mocked a sexual assault victim.  
The not self made billionaire who received about $413m (£317m) of daddies money from dubious tax dodges, took his lack of Peace Prize in his usual calm and casual manner by stating that he could beat up Vladimir Putin.
He told his fellow fruitcakes and deplorables that the media wanted Trump 'to get into a boxing match with him' and that if he did, 'I think I’d do very well'.
That's the 77 year old, third fattest President ever against 62 year old 8th Dan Karate black belt owner Putin so unless Trump's meaning of 'doing very well' includes getting knocked flat on his back immediately, i think doing very well may be a stretch.
Anyway, the sexual predator gets zilch except unflattering pictures of him walking up the steps to Airforce One with loo roll stuck to his shoe.
Nobody can say it's ever boring with Trump around.

No Rest - New Model Army

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 26 we have No Rest by New Model Army (1985).

 A band named after the religious Parliamentarian Army singing about God shouldn't be this good but it's an angry sounding post-punk
type song questioning God on why he has forsaken us, was it the wanting more than you gave? The fighting? The Whisky? 
Probably all of the above to be fair but maybe he just isn't a fan of big fat bass-lines which means they are in trouble because that is what makes this song so great.
I don't know if they went on to question God on how Noah fitted all the animals on the ark or how immaculate conception works because i haven't heard anything else from them but this is one of a few rare oasis's in the barren musical desert of the 80's as well as one of the best band names ever.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Misery - Green Day

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 27 we have Misery by Green Day (2000).

I got in on the ground floor with Green Day, they came good just as Grunge was entering it's dog days and they would be played on MTV quite a bit between the Nirvana and Pearl Jam videos and before the rest of the pop-punk bands got in on the act.
I therefore have every Green Day Album from 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours to Revolution Radio and while there are plenty of Green Day songs i really like, this is the one i would pick as my favourite even if it wasn't released as a single, mainly because it is such an un-Green Day sound.
Simple and with an accordion and spanish guitar sprinkled throughout, it chugs along pleasantly with some dark lyrics about Virginia's compound fracture, Mr Whirly's catastrophic incident, Vinnie's baseball bat bludgeoning and Gina kissing the bride eternally and although i don't know what that means, it's probably not a good thing.
While Green Day got better as they matured they seemed to peak with the American Idiot album and then everybody seemed to be a Green Day fan but now they have slipped back into the shadows again but certainly the best of the pop-punk bands of that era. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Whistle For The Choir - The Fratellis

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 28 we have Whistle For The Choir by The Fratellis (2006).

Named after a family in The Goonies, The Fratellis as a band didn't hang around too long and were not known for their more slower tempo songs but this was the second of their only top ten hits so maybe they should have done more laid-back songs like this.
A floaty sort of song which starts off with a simple strumming acoustic guitar and builds to something more Fratelli-esque although the whistling solo could have been left out.
They have recently got back together after the singers unsuccessful trip into a solo career but that ship has probably sailed for them and their Britpop sound, now resigned to history which is a shame because we could do with more bands and their up-tempo guitar songs like The Fratellis today.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

2 Minutes To Midnight - Iron Maiden

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 29 we have 2 Minutes To Midnight by Iron Maiden (1984).

Songs about clocks aren't normally as good as this but as it's the Doomsday Clock which was very much part of life for us Cold War kids in the 80's then this is an exception.
Another wall of sound type song with all the requisite Heavy Metal components and lyrics about nuclear annihilation including 'As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song / To the tune of starving millions to make a better kind of gun' which played perfectly into my pacifist beliefs while going deaf by playing it too loud on my Sony Walkman. 
As well as the lyrics, it's the riff on this one that draws me in, the constant churning of the electric guitar which more than makes up for the less than sparkling vocal talent of Bruce Dickinson who makes a good choice in half speaking the lyrics rather than trying to sing them.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Dumb Animal Hurt

William McCormick, 28, has been hospitalised after a bear he shot whilst out hunting in Alaska tumbled down a slope and fell on top of him.
Unfortunately Mr McCormick's hunting partner was not also injured in the incident but if Billy and his mate had took the bear on in a fair fight rather than shooting it with a high powered rifle from a distance then he would have been in a morgue rather than hospital.
As the sympathy fairy always seems to find an excuse to leave the building whenever a hunter is injured whilst out bravely shooting the wildlife for their sicks kicks, i hope Billy gets better not too soon and his massive US medical bill which will soon be landing on his doormat will make him think twice before being a moron again.

Madhouse - Anthrax

Of the millions of songs which have been recorded, only 30 songs can make it into The Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians and at number 30 we have Madhouse by Anthrax (1985).

I'm very much a fair weather fan of Heavy Metal, back in the 1980's they were all greasy hair and tattoo's and smelt of engine oil so i avoided the whole headbanging, grebo thing but some songs from the time do stand out.
Madhouse is exactly how Heavy Metal should sound in my head, buzzsaw guitars, thumping bass, screaming riffs, pounding drums, face
melting solo's and singer Joey Belladonna's voice isn't unpleasant and he sings rather than shouts and screams his way through the song about his mental state.
Don't know what Anthrax did before or after Madhouse, apparently they are still going, and as they have never entered my consciousness since i expect this was a short lived foray into something more melodic before returning to something much more shouty.