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23rd February, 2018. 1:39 pm. Do you wish you could return to moments from your past? (Blog Prompt)

Regret is part of being alive, but keep it a small part- Kerr Avon

Regret is part of being alive, but keep it a small part- Kerr Avon

An interesting question. My first thought in what context and to what end? Is this merely to view as an outsider and watch back as an instant reply as it were? Or, to actively live through the moment again as it was, or with the opportunity to change it. I assume the latter options would come about via some kind if Quantum Leap style technology so you’d be inhabiting your younger self. Tempted as I would be as there are numerous things I would like to revisit and change, I think the past should be left along and the only way is forward.

Anyway I have seen enough episodes of the Twilight Zone to know the past doesn’t turn out to be quite how you remember it.

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20th February, 2018. 1:42 am. Share Your World 19th February 2018

How do you like your eggs?

In the morning with a kiss…..

On the serious side I don’t really mind. I will usually have a fried egg if having a full English Breakfast or a Bacon, Sausage & Egg Sandwich. But I do tend to vary my eggs if staying at a B and B or Hotel for a number of days. So I will mix between fried, poached and scrambled. The best way to do scrambled eggs is to add some Tobasco or Worcester Sauce.

If having a boiled egg, it has to be soft boiled so I can dunk my toasted soldiers.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

I have met Jon Pertwee, Slyvester McCoy, Nicholas Courtney, Lalla Ward, Anneke Wills and Anthony Ainley of Doctor Who fame.

Outside of that I have met the Stranger on the Shore himself: Mr Acker Bilk. He bought me a beer.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Are we talking pocket money or money earned? The former, probably Ghostbusters toys, the latter I don’t know. Videos I guess.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

Catching up with an old work colleague is something which was a highlight. As was meeting up with my teacher friend again.


Share Your World

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18th February, 2018. 12:43 am. More from Spats Langham

John uploaded more video from the second set. Enjoy.... even if it does have When I'm Cleaning Windows in it


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17th February, 2018. 8:57 pm. Sunday Lunchtime Jazz Session 11/02/18

Sunday Lunchtime once again bought me back to the Albrighton Sports and Social Club for another Jazz Club 90 Session, the band was one which has been to the Club on a number of occasions but I am fairly certain this is the first time I have seen this particular band. The band was "Spats" Langham's Hot Fingers with Emily Campbell, a name which is a little bit suspect if you ask me, and it was a trio set up with a vocalist. I think I may have seen Spats and Emily in different set-ups but certainly it was the first time I have seen them together as an ensemble.

The Band consisted of "Spats" on Banjo, Guitar and Mandolin (though sadly not all at the same time, that'd been great to see...); Danny Blythe on Clarinet, (the seldom seen at JC 90) Bass Clarinet, Guitar and the Mouth Organ; Malcolm Sked on Tuba and String Bass and Emily providing vocals and contributions on the Triangle.

As seems to be the tradition with me I managed to miss the first number and possibly the second as I was late arriving for various boring reasons, but I quickly found a place with a good view of the band and reasonable comfort. I popped across to the bar and purchased a can of Vimto as I had things to do later, so I opted against starting afternoon too early with Holden's Golden Glow, lovely as it would have been to do so. I returned to my seat as the band finished their introductions and onto perform a number called Shivery Stomp which was performed way back in the 1920s by Frank Trambaur and his Orchestra and featured the first "great white hope" of the Cornet: Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke. The next number up was a number I had not heard of and was composed by a guy called Jabbo Smith, it was Lina Blues. Jabbo Smith was a New Orleans trumpeter in the 1920s and 1930s and is one of those guys who seems to have disappeared into the footnote of Jazz History and unlike a number of his contemporaries seems to have lead a long life. So in order to correct that here is a recording of Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces and Lina Blues:

Next up was an number which Spats announced was originally written for Al Johnson, but not the number I thought they were going to announce- I will tell what that was later- but a number the composers wrote as a sort of revenge as they were fed up with Johnson's behaviour. Intended as an incredibly sweet and sickly number, Johnson inverted it and it became a big hit, back firing on the writers a bit although I am sure they appreciated the royalties. The number of course was Sonny Boy. Being a Sunday this was followed by what I am now guessing is a mandatory "spiritual" slot was 'This Train'. This was a number by the Gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe who had a sort of halo but off stage was rather fond of a brandy and could get a bit randy. This was followed by a move back into Blues territory with a number called Easy Baby, apparently done as an early acoustic record by the legendary Blues musician McKinley Morganfield, not heard of him? Perhaps you are more familiar with his stage name which was... of course... ...Muddy Waters. It was an interesting number to say the least and somewhat unlike the material one would usually associate with Muddy Waters, particularly if you are more familiar with his later, works but I am thinking it was misnamed by the band as I can't seem to find it online.

Emily joined the stage for a number of vocals kicking off with "Take Another Guess", an overlooked song Ella Fitzgerald sang when she was starting out in her career as the vocalist with the Chick Webb Orchestra way back in 1936. Her material with Chick Webb seems to be overlooked quite a bit and only her break through hit of "A-tisket, a-tasket" ever really being used as an example, so it is perhaps surprising that "Take Another Guess" was chosen to represent Ella and Chick on a late 90s compilation called Swing: The Ultimate Big Band Album and was one of the first jazz themed sets I bought. Emily went to the other most famous Jazz singer for her next number which was "Moaning Low" a dark, sultry number associated with Billie Holiday, to add to the feeling Blythe switched to bass clarinet for accompaniment. The next number was more upbeat and was the Jam Session favourite "Undecided"  and it rattled along at a great rate with Campbell swinging high. Campbell took a small break on the vocals here and provided some rhythmic support on cowbells while Spats introduced a 1926 Jack Hylton number called "Ever Since I Kissed Her on the Volga" in which he took to doing the vocals. This is a song I have never heard of and of course the title refers to the river and is not a euphemism... at least I don't think it is. Campbell returned to the microphone for the last two numbers of the set which were, in turn, another early Ella Fitzgerald number called "Little White Lies" and Maime Smith's "Crazy Blues". The closing number dates back to 1920 and is believed to be the first commercially recorded and released Blues record, though I would say it is more bluesy-New Orleans Jazz rather than Blues.

The second set opened up with a number the late great Tommy Burton would frequently when performing at Jazz Club 90 when it was still at the Harp and at other West Midland locales such as the Trumpet in Bilston, this was "Rose of Washington Square". Tommy Burton was something of a local legend and from the odd photos of him I've seen and recordings I have heard he would be best described as the love child of George Melly and Thomas "Fats" Waller and what followed, was a version of the song with Burton's alternative lyrics performed by Spats which had a very Waller/Melly feel about them. Spats announced the next number "Skirts" and was greeted by audience cries of "Wakey Wakey", not because people were falling asleep no, but because this was a number performed by the legendary British Bandleader Billy Cotton.  "Wakey Wakey" was his catchphrase on the Billy Cotton Band Show which ran on BBC TV in the late 1950's and early 60's. "Skirts" was played at mixed tempos for reasons to amuse the band members more than anything else because despite being a number by an old dance band, not a single person got up to strut their funky stuff. I bet even Amy wouldn't have if she were there...

Next up was a number which dates all the way back to the early 1930s and reflected the state of America following the Wall Street Crash, in other words the great depression. Now, I mentioned earlier that the band performed a song written for Al Jolson and it turned out to be "Sonny Boy", well the song they performed now was the song I thought they were going to do then. The song was written for Al Jolson (hence the lyric say don't you remember? They called me Al) but he rejected it and the song ended up being recorded by Bing Crosby. In case you haven't guessed what the song was, here is the old groaner himself:

From the next number Spats decided he would wander around on stage with his little ukulele in his hands. The song was the hit song from a 1937 film called Keep Your Seats Please which was a vehicle for George Formby  and was banned from broadcast on BBC Radio for suggestive lyrics. Yup, you have guessed it, it was "When I'm Cleaning Windows". A song which if you think about it is about could be telling you how to get away with being a peeping Tom in days gone by (these days Window Cleaners use extended brushes so don't ever leave the ground).

After this venture into George Formby territory Emily Campbell returned to the stage and kicked off her contributions with Edith Piaf's "Le Vie en Rose" which she sang masterfully and, like Piaf, sang it in French. This was a followed by a move back into Blues territory with a Big Bill Brozney number called "I Get the Blues When it Rains". Next up was a number which has been covered countless times and featured as a musical sequence in Dennis Potter's "Lipstick on Your Collar" called "In a Persian Market". Now the organisers of Jazz Club 90 have put up a video of this on You Tube plus the following number, which while being a song I knew well, I had no idea originated from Showboat:

The final number of the gig went back into Blues territory and was a Memphis Minnie associated song called "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Bad" and was a superb ending to a good early afternoon's entertainment.

For more information about Jazz Club 90 click here.

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15th February, 2018. 4:40 pm. A Costumed Sandman

When I was in Primary School there'd be a fancydress day once a year which initially started off as characters from books, though I am not sure if that was school or my parents who were responsible for the book theme. I suspect the latter because they wouldn't let me go dressed as a ghostbuster, although several of my classmates did.

So one year I went as a Warlock, a day I remember quite well because I'd eaten something dodgy the night before and threw up all over the girl I was sitting next too. I wonder if she still remembers me and that incident.

Later years I indulged in what we now call cosplay, I tended to go as characters from Doctor Who, if memory serves it was like this.

1. The fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), which was a curly wig, long scarf (though not multiple coloured, it was like Rupert Bear's trousers) and a baggy coat.

2. The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)- Beatles wig, my mum's frock coat and my recorder.

3. An Auton- Terror of the Autons style. Can't remember what I did there expect for a straw hat. For those of you in the know, I was trying to go for the Carnival mask appearance from part three when they are handing out the deadly plastic daffodils. For those of you not in the know, I bet you are thinking "ok..... Deadly plastic daffodils...... I think I am going to stand over there...."

4. A Cyberman. More specifically a Telosian Cyberman as seen in "The Moonbase" and "The Tomb of the Cybermen". This one I put quite a bit of effort into making. I bought a silvery looking tracksuit and sewed rubber pipes up the arms. Made a chest unit out of polystyrene and painted it silver. I even made some flashing lights to go in it. They worked for about 5 mins. My dad made a papermache mould of my head and used a four pint milk bottle to create the helmet. The mask was simply made of cardboard and like the helmet sprayed silver. I had a pair of grey ski gloves to be my cyberhands. It was a success, only everyone thought I was the Tinman. And my chest unit kept falling apart. I also had to take it off in order to sit down. Oh, and it was about 23 degrees Celsius.

Seems that Cosplay is a growing trend these days, there appears to be a regular feature in DWM starting up. I have to confess that I don't really indulge these days. I have done for Halloween and NYE parties at work. Costumes there included Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Sherlock Holmes and Count Orlock from Nosferatu.

Daily Prompt: Costume

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13th February, 2018. 12:37 pm. Share Your World 13th February 2018

Are you a practical jokester?

No, not really. I keep worrying about things which might go wrong should I do so. Now silly activities, on the other, like accidentally stealing a steam engine or using pork pies to determine which member of staff has the biggest mouth, is a total different matter.

When I was in my teens there was a kids TV Show called Agent Z and the Penguin from Mars, which unknown to me at the time was an adaption of the book of the same name by Mark Haddon,  which was based around three friends setting up practical jokes. Their ultimate prank being to fake an alien encounter to a stuck up neighbour. It was a kids comedy show, but it very sensibly reminded people of consequences when it all goes a bit pair shaped.

Who cuts your hair?  You, a friend, or professional.

I get my hair cut in a small Barber shop down a side ally in Oakengates, which amusingly is staffed by a young lady I went to school with. I am not a bit fan of being in the Barber’s chair, I think it goes back the uncomfortable holds my childhood Barber used to put me in. I don’t go for any extravagant hair cuts, just your standard short back and sides these days.

IImage result for Barber Pole

Did you have a stuffed animal when you were a kid, if so what kind?

I believe I have answered this before. Yes, here they are tucked away on my bookshelf waiting to one day be of service again.


What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

It was probably catching up with Ross, even if the circumstances could be more pleasant (no, it wasn’t a funeral). Either that or getting to see a band on a Sunday lunchtime again.


Share Your World

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12th February, 2018. 12:11 am. Musical Matters

Feel free to answer the questions yourself


1) makes you think of your childhood? In a rather odd choice I would have to say The Chicken Song from Spitting Image and the B-side (I've Never Met) A Nice South African. Though the satirical nature of the two songs would have flown over my child mind.

2) makes you remember your teenage years?

I think it depends what part of my teenage years you mean. Early teens I will probably say the "Boom Boom Boom" by the Outhere Brothers, for various reasons. Later teen years I would have to say "You Stole My Wife You Horsethief" by Dizzy Gillespie.... I am sure my first girlfriend could tell you why 😉

3)reminds you of your college/university days?

Not so much a song as an album: Twenty something by Jamie Cullum, because it started off a brief but entertaining period where Jazz was back in vogue for a bit in the UK.

4)was your first dance at your wedding/will be?

Well since I totally have lost the ability to dance (I used to Tap) it will have to be that Fred Astaire classic "I Won't Dance."

5)favourite song of all time?

Since I have no doubt that you are not being 100% literal with the definition of a song I will have to go with Hoagy Carmichael's hauntingly beautiful ditty about lost love: Stardust.

6)favourite song to sing along to?

Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway.

7) favourite song to dance to?

See the answer to number 4

8 )song you would like played at your funeral?

Well there are three I have planned to include which are Monty Python's Galaxy Song,

Elgar's Nimrod (okay that isn't a song per se)

And finally from New Orleans itself, Jelly Roll Morton: Didn't He Ramble

Copy and paste replacing the answers 😊

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6th February, 2018. 1:41 am. Share Your World 5th February 2018

What would be your ideal fantasy way to spend Monday?

Well at the moment it would to either to be in gainful employment or having a day of from said gainful employment. Ideally I guess it would be what used to be my routine, Monday would be a movie at the Cinema in the late morning/early afternoon followed by a quick catch up at one of my local watering holes. Followed by either a chilled night at home or if in a relationship spending time with my dearly beloved.

Fantasy wise, I don’t know, living some insane Boy’s Own Adventure type caper perhaps or maybe jamming until the wee small hours we some cool jazz cats in a basement perhaps. Every now and again I have thought of doing a Sonny Rollins and taking my horn out and practicing under/near a bridge. In my case it’d be one of the bridges in Telford town park.

What one person that you are out of contact with would you like to say thank you to?

Probably Andrea Gardiner to say thanks for the memories or possibly Amy Cherry for much the same reason. Andrea was my jazz pal and there weren’t a lot of them around at my age, so despite a whopping big ocean we bonded very much over Jazz. Amy was described by a number of associates of mine who met her as “very much a female version of me”, but there was more then that. A deep supportive friendship which sadly went south as the dark shadow of depression cast it’s way over my soul.

List your favourite toys or games as a kid?

When I was very small I had a toy A-Team van which I played on for ages and long after I’d gotten too big for it. It eventually buckled under my weight. My sister remembers it for a different reason though, she fell over it when roller skating and broke her arm. Of course she tried to blame it on me despite the fact that I had been no where near it all day and it was one of her friends moving it out of her way.

Games wise, I think it was always Chess which appealed to me, possibly Monopoly but we all know how games of Monopoly end.

To be fair, I was more a computer games kid and spent a lot more time playing on my Commodore 64 then was probably healthy. The Dizzy Games (and to a certain degree the Seymour games) were probably my favourite, but Sly Spy, Vampire, Little Puff, Ghostbusters and Hong-Kong Phooey were other frequently played games.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I guess being able to got to the Jazz Club at the weekend was appreciated, even if I was a month ahead on who I thought I was going to see, other then that I can’t really say. Umm, finishing my book perhaps (reading not writing). Sadly it has been a week where once again where people’s true colours come out to shine.


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6th February, 2018. 12:43 am. The Last Sandman

Well after far more procrastination on the subject matter then I should have done, I have finally seen Star Wars:
The Last Jedi
, I think the thought of sitting in the cinema for the best part of 3 hours is what probably put me off for so long. It was good and I am totally bewildered as to what on Earth was causing all the kerfuffle in Wars-fandom, but then again there was a load of bizarre bumph about a black Stormtrooper in the Force Awakens, so go figure. The Last Jedi takes on a darker tone with Mark Hamill giving a much stronger performance then he ever did in the original trilogy and given much meatier material. Perhaps that is why, here Skywalker is bitter through failure due to the hubris of believing his own legend leading to Kylo-Ren's defection to the dark side. The storyline focuses a lot on Rey and her attempts to master the Force and her relationship with Luke and Kylo-Ren. Kylo-Ren is shown to be a more troubled character and less of a straight forward villain like Darth Vader, with perhaps a high-level of self-hate running in his character bought on by anger. Snoke is a much more substantial character in this film and the scenes of him and Rey are on par with Obi-wan/Vader scenes and the Skywalker/Vader scenes.
Fans of British Comedy will be delighted to see a straight ahead performance from Young Ones and Bottom star Adrian Edmondson as a New Order general who is a million miles away (both literally and metaphysical) from the punkish Vivian or the slimy Eddie Hitler.
There are plenty of space battles and action sequences spread out the film and as a consequence it doesn't feel like the film is 152 minutes long. Sadly, I felt Carrie Fisher was underused as Princess Leia in what is now her final film.

Overall, as Yoda might say: film good, it is. Setup for next, movie it has. Disappointed, I was not.

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31st January, 2018. 5:07 pm. Just Wondering

with apologies to davesmusictank

What is your favourite movie soundtrack?

What was the last album you bought a physical copy of? What format was it?

What classic author do you not like and why?

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