Friday, July 21, 2017

Teenbeat XXVI -Four wheel drive

Now for one after the twenty-fifth numbered edition of teenbeat, the series that looks at music that in someway is connected to my past we go back to the Great White North home of decent winters and unfailing  politeness.
The establishment internationally of Canadian artists until the late nineteen-sixties was very much a hit and miss affair not least for being a smaller country it was seen as market for American and British talent with the recording industry geared more around the manufacture and marketing of those acts for their bigger UK and US owners until beatle money from the likes of Capitol Canada filtered down and labels had artists and repertoire looking inward at promoting homegrown talent.
Amongst the first were Edward Bear and the Guess Who both of which achieved great sales and respect not just back in North America but around the world. The Guess Who having a huge hit with  American Woman disbanded in early seventies featured Randy Bachman from which after the abortive attempt at making a fresh start as Brave Belt lead on to the formation of Bachman Turner Overdrive who specialized in blues based hard rock.
The outfit comprising at launch of Randy Bachman on lead guitar, Fred Turner on bass, both sharing lead vocal duties coupled with Robbie Bachman on drums with Tim Bachman on guitar and drums all hailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba issuing two albums before Tim Bachman was replaced by Blair Thornton for guitars between nineteen seventy-four through seventy-seven.
It was that line up rather than the later ones that made there impression on me glued as ever as a sickly disabled kid with such  hit 45's as Blue Collar,Let It Ride, Takin' Care of Business, the breakout You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet in seventy-four, Hey You and Take It Like  Man blasting out of the radio when bed bound.
The impression you might get today from oldies radio is they were just about hit hard rock 45's  but actually as someone who does own many of their albums on original vinyl, they did produce coherent musically interesting albums of which probably the best is Not Fragile which sold by the cartload back then too.
Last year the North American specialist re-issue company Caroline issued a box set of eight original albums including the less popular Street Action and Rock and Roll Nights albums of the late nineteen-seventies of which the latter saw British Columbian songwriter Jim Vallance contribute songs of which one Rock And Roll Hell was covered by American metal stars Kiss on their Creatures OF The Night Album in nineteen eighty-two.
So there's a reason to have those two albums.
When you open out the box, what you get is the booklet which gives a short history of the band and those eight original albums in cd form freshly remastered by Andy Pierce in the UK.
There's no truth in the rumour here Catgirl Enterprises LLC photography dept was going for the ISO 1600 retro effect on that shot (lol)!
The booklet includes full colour photography including live shots of the band many of which were used originally for those albums that were issued in gatefold sleeves. Note too how the bands logo features the Maple Leaf.

Unlike some UK reissues in recent years, each album is issued as a separate compact disc reproducing its original front and rear lp album art shown going left to right from seventy-nine's Rock and Roll Nights to the album that started it all, Bachman Turner Overdrive from seventy-three.
Unfortunately as with a number of these sets they have dispensed with an inner sleeve so you need to carefully prise open the edge to get the disc out to avoid marking it which is a pity given the print quality is respectable.
The last two albums are otherwise unable new and very expensive used in cd form and the others were until several years ago where between England's BGO and Lemon/Rock Candy  records the first six were too.
Personally I prefer the feel of this set which plays a big part in the whole tactile memories of handling the albums and forty-fives I had while the material is amongst some of the fines blues hard rock ever recorded with fine musicianship.
For around GBP £30 I feel this is a great introduction to a very interesting band and probably serves people better than 1993's out of print Anthology two cd set on Mercury/Universal Music.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My weekend with "picnic"

As mentioned at a few places, I was going away for what a few days which included the annual Ikklespace Picnic but it wasn't as planned starting with being pawley the day before with bad milk making me sick and feeling generally yukky.
Thankfully I had packed mainly the day before so I only had the toiletries to pack and a quick check before leaving Friday by bus to to the very best rail station in the North-west Midlands to catch my train to meet up with one person before setting off the next day.
Seeing I was travelling across mealtimes I had a light lunch before setting off and consumed a Oat Flapjack on the station while waiting for my train to come in on time, which it did, observe one that was running thirteen minutes late and another ultimately get cancelled at Nantwich!
When I arrived it was sunny and I changed to my maroon pleated skirt that matched by sweatshirt, settling down to colouring in my "Coloring for girls" colouring book while sipping tea and talking.
Seeing it was not going to be long before our Evening meal, it was time for to help out with preparing  it so I scrapped and chopped the home grown potatoes and cut the cabbage to be put on the boil while the beef was cooked with its own fat for an hour and twenty minutes.
I also made Rhubarb pie by cutting the rhubarb into bits to boil until soft before making the pastry with 6 Oz flour, 3 Oz fat kneading together and adding 2 Oz sugar to caramelize the pastry.
The pie was served with ice cream and was delicious while the beef turned out really well.
In the evening, we watched the highlights of that days Tour de France as person I was with is a keen cyclist apart from being good at looking after me and First Night of The Proms.
The next morning I got, washed and dressed  ready to deal with the overnight washing up, fix my cereal and make some tea for both of us although I didn't find the Tea Cosy that keeps it warmer for longer.
We set off at half past Nine having noted the traffic issues in Birmingham and domino effects across the motorway network across the Black Country and onto Worcestershire.
It was there we noticed the weather that had been forecast to better toward the South East didn't seem to be what was forecast and indeed outside a period in Oxfordshire it proved to be very much mizzy with constant light rain
We stopped at a one village for the General Stores before arriving at the venue only to find understandably it had been moved into Sammy's house which had I of had cellphone on spotted I'd of  spotted a text message advising of the same. There's probably a lesson in that.
So we had to travel a few more miles on, using the stat nav and maps to get to the house.
While it was a disappointment to not be able to play outside with bubbles, kites, teddy bears and the like, actually as the group number was a bit lower people mingled around sharing in interesting conversations while others went out to look at the garden and some big electric  train related equipment her partner has.
It's also the reason rather having a picture of playing with things there's a picture of train instead on this post!
This combination of a smaller gathering probably helped people to feel more together rather than being in small clusters with the food people had brought to event being shared in the kitchen area such as pies, scotch eggs, banana's, crisps and assorted tasty cupcakes and lolipops which it has to be said I'm a great fan of.
We left at half past four after saying our goodbyes as we needed to travel back to South Staffordshire where it was noted as soon as we got toward Worcestershire it was quite bright bringing the thought maybe a picnic up here be an idea?
We called in just leaving Stourbridge to a Fish and Chip shop for Cod and chips for our evening meal that night to save cooking so enabling a relaxed end to what rain aside had been a great day with friends and anyway Fish and Chips always goes down well when you're a Catgirl!
It was scrumptious.
We watched some more Tour de France while sipping tea and fairy cakes followed by listening to some eighties music when I made may way to bed on all four paws.
I woke up about half six after a good night's sleep tm, got dressed  and did the overnight dishes before fixing my cereal and making tea.
I left around of twenty past Ten having left the person I was with a present wrapped in teddy bear paper and catching the Eleven o clock train home plus a a cab to the door well not quite as he overshot the turning for my house so I had a two hundred yard walk!
I'd like to thank Sammy and Mr. P for opening their home when it was clear the outdoor picnic wasn't going to work, everyone there including the new in the flesh to me Miss L and Miss Green for looking after mes on what was a most lovely weekend.

Monday, July 10, 2017

On Stamps and collecting them

Talking with my BFF the other day lead to her talking about her interest in the design of postage stamps, not that she was a collector of those things and that was inspiration enough for this post.

That strip of stamps came recently on a compact disc I had bough from a guy in Poland, Europe which caught my eye as most mail today commercially doesn't have stamps on but instead is put in a machine that marks you have paid the mailing fees for it and often things from other countries around the world are interesting.
Stamps generally come in two forms, those which are  fairly plain in appearance with fixed designs on them such as the British 'definitive' ones with the Queen's head  that have a long period in production and other more decorative  ones that commemorate events or show things such as historic events, buildings, transportation, nature and seasonal events such as Christmas. 
I started a collection when I was ten years old starting with inherited stamp albums of the hard back book design with fixed pages per country some of which went back to the mid nineteenth century when it came to British Stamps including a complete unused set of the present Queen's Coronation issued stamps.
It wasn't long getting into my mid teens that I moved into the loose-leaf binder kind of stamp album so I could set the pages out as I wished, making better use to present them in a more attractive way only feature entries by theme and countries I wanted.
Around this period, I used by buy mixed bags of stamps from my local store and visit a specialist dealer from time to time buying direct from him specific issues I wanted in my collection.
To aid with this I would borrow the Stanley Gibbon's guidebook that listed all World-wide stamps and make notes in a pocket book of those that interested me.
Around this time I collected religiously British "First Day Covers" that were a stiff card envelope with all of a commemorative set of stamps on that would by stamped with a special first day of issue stamp and later on Presentation Packs that had the stamps pre-mounted in a presentation.

Friday, July 7, 2017

1989 round up

Just relaxing a bit today in the heat before the expected showers and may be a spot of thundered and lightning makes its appearance.
One thing that's been on my mind  is it's been a good while since Taylor Swift gave us 1989, the album inspired by the year of her birth, a year some of us may remember other bigger themes such as the end of the Iron Curtain and its connected Warsaw Pact, the beginning of the end of the Thatcher era in Great Britain and the breaching of the Berlin Wall.
It's hard to really convey just how it felt as all the old certainties just fell like a pack of dominoes.
When it is she feels she has enough material for a new album I for one will be looking forward to hearing it not least to see if there is more of a return to 'country pop'  as someone who got to know of her from the beginning and liking at the time people like The Band Perry.
I fell more into that more modern Country Pop after the effective demise of R&B artists who had a personal influence on me such as Destiny's Child and TLC who I adored, the sentiments of such songs as Unpretty and by coincidence have released their final album simply entitled TLC this last week which I bought.
Mr. Marmalade, he that hacks into my blog account posting his feline take on things hasn't been feeling too good for the last few days, being off his food -maybe he had a bad mouse kebab? but seems to have recovered.

Monday, July 3, 2017

On friendship

Here we go again seeing white rabbits as we enter a new month and so start with our first one of July.
Talking as one does often lead to my mind thinking about things that may not of been at the centre of attention  but around the edges.

This was one thing that was revolving around my mind the other day cos we all seem to have different ideas of what a friend is or isn't wherever we happen to be.
For me one important part of being a friend to someone is the extent to which I feel emotionally connected to them and with them, that's to say we feel for each other  in ways that go beyond general sympathies.
Another is that you share a lot in common with that person seeing at least some parts of you in them although you are your own person, both the good points and the bad.
You do have differences but you learn to accommodate them because what you have in common counts for more.
You can argue with them because you care passionately about them and their well-being but you respect boundaries, always making up afterward. When you do that your friendship hasn't lessened-it's grown deeper.
The amount of true friends can be counted on one finger rather than the number of followers on Facebook and Tumblr because they're just acquaintances.
You sure would share the last thing you had with them.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rent a Bridesmaid

Recently I picked up a copy of book I'd thought about getting late last year but as things are want to do with me at times I'd forgotten all about it, bought a copy  and sat across a few days reading it.

The story is about a nine year old girl, Tilly who can scarcely believe it when her best friend and class mate, Matty, is offered the role of being a bridesmaid for she is as much a tomboy as Tilly is more girly girl and really wasn't looking forward to it.
Tilly's parents had split up and the dress is very much the focus of Tilly's longing for her parents to be reunited as she missed no longer living with Mom.
After her friend had worn it and it had been cleaned, Matty offers her the dress as she could never see herself ever wearing it again and this leads into Tilly's favourite daydream of being a bridesmaid in the must beautiful dress, walking behind the bride and after talking it through with her best friend resolves to sort this by advertising herself as a Bridesmaid for rent at the local store.

This is the dress and most beautiful it is too.
The dress leads to her meeting different people such as an older couple, a same sex couple of professional people and a family who had planned a large church wedding with five other bridesmaids, all of which enrich her life.
The one thing sadly all of this cannot do is the very thing she longs for the most -to reunite her family- so when her Mom who it transpires later on hadn't been well mentally does come to see her after Tilly appears on a tv program about weddings, her hopes are dashed .
This said there does seem to be a relationship blossoming between Miss Hope her teacher and her dad and maybe if there's to be a sequel Tilly will be the bridesmaid at that wedding!
One of things I liked about it was the exploration  of the friendship between Matty and Tilly, that although being in so many ways polar opposites not just their personalities but lifestyles and that despite this they really do gel, becoming best friends. That comes over so well in how it is written showing how disagreements that for those of who remember just high emotional we were around their ages soon get minded with some tlc.
To conclude although on the face of it it's a relatively uncomplicated story about a girl and her dress it has more depth exploring the nature of friendship you can see at a more grown up level very intensely heartfelt and emotional coming over through intelligent use of subtle nuances of mood and character. It is a great joy to read.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hot Summer Musings

I can't speak for everybody but blowing on a Dandelion head and making wishes is something that I can recall from my actual childhood apart from making daisy chains during the summer months and actually that scene sat cross-legged on the school fields pulling them with the girls and making them has just come straight back into my mind this last rather hot week over here.
His furness has been demanding to come in all of the time from where our meadow flowers are even bringing two birds in which I wasn't too pleased about especially when they're baby chicks.
I did get down in record time yesterdays pots and pans from teatime too
I've redone some Mp3 copies from cd as I wasn't so happy with the original way of converting the full cd quality of the original discs to the smaller files I was using at the time.
Until next time...