Eclectic Blue

Donny and Olive?

0 Comments 18 October 2016

Tonight, I accidentally tuned in to BBC’s One Show. I am not sure quite what the purpose of the show is – a bit like Nationwide without the news, perhaps? (One for the kids, there.) – but on rare occasions it can be quite fun. And tonight it was a lot of fun because the main guest was 1970s pop idol Donny Osmond.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Osmonds because, despite their adherence to a religion that is only mildly less bonkers than Scientology, they seem to be a normal bunch of “guys”, as rugby union players might say. They made some decent records too, not least the epic Crazy Horses, a powerful song about pollution, way ahead of its time, and Love Me For A Reason, with that reason being love, which I think just about makes some sense.

Donny’s appearance on the One Show, presented by a Welsh woman called Alex and a northern gentleman whose name escapes me, was excellent value. He seems a lovely bloke with an immaculate complexion and a full head of brown hair, which I suspect used to be someone else’s. And he is only a year or so from his 60th birthday.

Now there are probably a good few reasons that our Donny looks rather better than I do in late middle age. He is probably fitter than I am, he probably eats better than I do (even though I do my best, honest) and he doesn’t drink alcohol. I do not envy him his abstinence but I wouldn’t mind his skin. The lad can sing too and still belts out Puppy Love which, seeing that he is close to getting his bus pass, is some achievement.

Much of his family is still going strong, too. Three of his brothers were on the show, too, at least one of whom was Little Jimmy, who is still dining out on Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, and sounding very much like Liberace at his most camp. He too was likeable. They all were.

The only one missing, so far as I could tell, was sister Marie whose real name is, wonderfully, Olive Osmond. Can you imagine the Donny and Olive show, or Olive singing Paper Woses (she has a problem with her Rs!)? Olive is oil or she used to star in ITV’s On The Buses (another ones for the kids, there). Olive is not a glamorous singer.

Donny spoke to a fan by way of an old style telephone and the lucky caller appeared to be in advanced state of – how shall I put this? – female excitement, close to Meg Ryan’s condition in When Harry Met Sally, only for real. God alone knows what kind of state she will be in when she takes up Donny’s gift of backstage passes for the Birmingham show of his tour. He’d best watch out for that crown topper.

Eclectic Blue

Nothing to laugh about

0 Comments 18 October 2016

After Ken Livingstone managed to stop talking about Hitler – yet again – the other night, he moved on to make a light-hearted remark about dementia. I can’t remember the exact words he used but it was along the lines of “If I said that, I’d need to be tested for dementia!” I have seen numerous people who have dementia in recent times and believe me there is nothing to laugh about.

Some weeks ago I took a man on a social outing to one of his favourite places. We both really enjoyed it, had a good laugh and I told him we’d do it all again when I saw him next. But when I saw him next, he didn’t remember having gone to his favourite place and he didn’t remember me either. If I had not gotten used to this awful disease, I think I might have cried.

I didn’t realise quite how commonplace their dreadful disease is. Some say around a million people in our country have dementia, but it is increasingly clear that the real figure may be considerably more than that.

I had heard it said that people with dementia are happy in their own little world and as long as they receive loving care everything is fine. If only. It appears that some people are happy in their own world but it’s a strange kind of happy. Sometimes the laughter is there, but more often it’s the blank look of nothingness. And even that laughter comes for reasons unknown. They don’t usually know they are laughing, or why. I am not sure it is any kind of happiness at all.

Think of a million people with dementia and then add the number of people affected by it. Husbands and wives, sons and daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, care staff, doctors and nurses are caught up in it too. What’s that – three, four, maybe five million people whose lives are directly affected. We need a cure more than anything else.

I am not getting immune to these awful diseases. I don’t know how much they are affecting me in a cumulative sense, but my job means I must try and make their lives better, or at worst less unbearable. It is not about me, I know that. Only a person with a heart of stone could not be moved, though.

So when friends tell me about the family members they have lost to dementia, I know better how to feel their pain. When they have also lost their inheritance to pay for care, I feel ashamed of the system that punishes those who do the right thing all their lives, only to get shafted when they system should be helping them. Agony followed by despair followed by anger followed by nothingness.

Imagine your lover, your best friend, overwhelmed by this ghastly disease, not knowing where they are, not knowing where they are, not knowing anything about their own lives. As I say, I have seen many people laugh whilst losing their minds to dementia. They laugh, but there is nothing funny about it.

Eclectic Blue

On our way out

0 Comments 17 October 2016

One of the apparently unintended outcomes of the vote to leave the EU will surely be the slow destruction of the UK. That it will be the Conservative and Unionist Party that helps bring it about is surely the greatest irony of them all.

The increasingly slippery Nicola Sturgeon, despite a long-awaited dip in her popularity, leads a party, the SNP, that will never rest until it has brought about separation from the UK. Given that Scotland voted Remain in the referendum, the unfolding mess that Brexit will bring about will not be lost on Sturgeon and the rest of her party. We know that, like most politicians, Sturgeon is a ruthless opportunist, it is hard to blame her for exploiting the increasing divisions Brexit will bring. Scotland is not alone.

The island of Ireland faces an even more complex Brexit. For example, will there be a “hard” border between the north and the south? It is no good just assuming there won’t be because, like most aspects of our departure from the EU we just don’t know. I suspect there will definitely be some form of managed border, not least to address the concerns many Brexiteers had with immigration to the UK, and if there is one can only imagine very difficult questions being asked about the agreement that has kept the peace in and brought stability to Northern Ireland. Economists believe Ireland could be even worse affected by Brexit than we are.

Clearly, the Brexiteers had no clue of the implications of leaving the EU, nor their depth and breadth, and those who campaigned, no matter half-heartedly (like Theresa May), to remain have found themselves with no plan either. This is deeply concerning for all manner of reasons.

Even before Brexit has even been triggered, sterling has collapsed and shows no signs of reviving. The likelihood is that the pound has a long way to go before it finds its level. So even now we face dramatically higher fuel and food prices and increases in cost to everything we import. This will have an effect in the here and now because many people, especially the worse off, will suffer a decrease in living standards. We also know that but for the intervention of the bank of England in printing hundreds of billions of extra pounds, hundreds of thousands of job losses have been prevented for the time being. But let us be clear about this: we knew it was coming.

Whilst the referendum campaign was generally unedifying, essentially a combination of Project Fear versus Project Hate was how some saw it, no one can say that they weren’t warned what happen in the event of either outcome. If we had remained, it would have been life as before, no change, but we didn’t remain, so now we face up to an immense period of change. I’d like to be very clear that I am not one of those who believe we should reverse the referendum vote. I would be lying if I was to say that I am no longer angry about the decision to Brexit. Not so much angry at the people who voted to leave the EU, although I cannot help but feel a degree of antipathy towards some older voters who by voting Leave have voted to deny their children the same opportunities their generation enjoyed, but very angry at the lies of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, Gisela Stuart and the rest of the Leave team which may have affected the outcome.

Since being appointed prime minister, Theresa May, the silent remainer, has adopted the ugly, populist language of the Farages and Johnsons of this world, shouting “Brexit means Brexit” at every opportunity, making her the heroine of the right wing media. At the same time, every word she has spoken has seen the pound tumble still further. We must accept, in my view, that the vote to leave the EU must not only be respected and accepted by opponents, it must also be implemented. But it must be implemented in order to cause the least possible damage to the country.

One important reason given by many “outers” was that they wanted “sovereignty” to be returned, whereby decisions would be made by our parliament and not by the EU parliament and by unelected bureaucrats. Putting aside the fact that none of the Brexiters seem to be able to tell us which EU laws they can’t wait to get rid of, the logical consequence of returning sovereignty will be to enable our own MPs to hold the government to account over the terms of Brexit. So far as I am aware, no one voted to remove power from Brussels to hand it all to a prime minister whose party manifesto in 2015 including a promise to remain in the single market but now says immigration comes first. It is the British way that a PM is chosen by the largest party, but there is a compelling argument that says whilst May has a clear mandate to take us out of the EU, she has no mandate on what Brexit should look like.

It could be that May will be voting for the future of England and Wales if Scotland and, God forbid, Ireland go their own way, so a good deal for everyone on these islands is essential. I do not envy May her job in the forthcoming negotiations but she has made her bed and now she has to lie in it.

We know there will be a considerable financial hit as Brexit slowly sinks in but we all knew that was coming. I am not yet convinced that May is a substantial enough politician to lead this country to a better, or more likely less worse, place, so to entrust in her the task of not just saving the economy from collapse and preserving the union is a gamble to say the least. But it the gamble, the huge step in the dark, we have chosen.

Project Fear lost the referendum for all manner of reasons, but I am afraid that the fears were more than scare stories. That is the task before Mrs May. The question is whether she is up to it? The evidence so far is not reassuring.

Eclectic Blue

Done too soon

0 Comments 16 October 2016

I don’t know a great deal about the Irish rugby coach and former player Anthony Foley who died last night at the age of 42. To be honest, although I have some interest in rugby union, it’s a name that I have heard of, but that’s it. Not knowing about him was my loss, though, having read the tributes following his passing.

The sport of rugby union will be feeling enormous pain tonight, as of course will his family and friends. Indeed, Ireland will be in national mourning. We wait to learn the causes of his death, but it is his age that I find oh so sad. 42 is nothing.

I return to a recurring theme that my loyal reader will recognise, that where life’s journey ends, we don’t really know. Throughout my life, I have lost friends and family at very times, people of different ages, some who never made it out of teenage hood. If some had survived, perhaps they would still be my friends today, perhaps they would have had children and even grandchildren. Perhaps they would have lived amazing lives as doctors or soldiers or pop stars. They could have been and done anything but it was all done too soon.

As I get older, I feel more than ever my mortality and through my job I understand far better the life ahead for many of us as we move into old age. It can be good, growing old healthily and happily, but it can also be bad as we lose control of our minds and bodies. Sometimes, we lose control much earlier than we expect. The future can be bright but it can also be dark.

I know people who are wealthy and happy and I know people who are not wealthy and happy. I knew people who had money but that money could not buy them happiness or ultimately life. When it comes down to it, life itself is the most precious part.

I know a man who has recently been diagnosed with numerous inoperable brain tumours. He will not be with us for much longer. I know another who has chronic heart disease who once walked everywhere for fun but now can’t even climb the stairs to go to bed and, worse, the toilet. Some of us act like the smoker who always believes that the fatal effects of tobacco will kill everyone else, but not them. We cannot imagine being afflicted by an illness that will kill us before our “natural” time on earth runs out. But it can and often does.

It is why, two and a half years ago, I threw away an admittedly piss poor civil service salary for an even smaller one in the charity sector and I have never regretted a second of it. What do I feel when I see friends and acquaintances driving nice cars, flying round the world, fine-dining and living the high life after a tough week in work? Nothing but best wishes. I like to see hard work rewarded with success and I have learned that someone having more money than you is nothing to fret about or be ashamed of.

As I never tire of saying, we are all different and for some the very buzz of work is the elixir of life. The drive and ambition to get on, to be the best they can and to work for as long as they can – there is nothing wrong with that. If someone gets as much pleasure from their work as I get from my writing, my music, my quality time with my family and friends and of course my new part time job, then I am genuinely pleased for them. I really am.

I am not someone who believes in a God, who maps out our lives, or some kind of fate where things “happen for a reason” because there is almost certainly not a God and things don’t happen for a reason, no matter how consoling and comforting either scenario might be.

Anthony Foley’s tragically premature death should shake us all up, to remind us that we should live our lives to the full and do the things we really want to do. Through the fog of depression, I am trying to do just that before it’s too late.

It’s just not fair, but life is rarely fair. We are, after all, only here because of the accident of our birth and there is no defined path. I came to the view that every day in my dead end civil service job was a day wasted. Nothing has happened since to suggest to me I was wrong.

Eclectic Blue

Not very Super Sunday

0 Comments 16 October 2016

As I write, Sky Sports’ Super Sunday game is Middlesbrough versus Watford is about to start. The greatest league in the world – the Premier League (yeah, right) – is not exactly living up to its self-accredited status. I had other things to do today, like listening to music, reading the newspaper and watching the grass grow. All three were, I suspect, more interesting than Middlesbrough versus Watford.

I am not a connoisseur of the Premier League as a whole. I watch every time Liverpool are on, hardly at all when anyone else is on, unless they are playing Liverpool, of course. I watched the pre-game hype in which the nondescript presenter (a nondescript presenter is still better than Richard Keys) quizzed Jamie Redknapp about all manner of things he is good at, like clichés and being bland, leaving trivia like team selection and tactics to no one in particular. Even I could tell that this was not a game that would attract a record audience to Sky.

I listened to Radio Five Live where Alan Green and Chris Sutton were definitely calling it like it was, which is to say poor. I had heard of hardly any of the players, almost all of whom were journeymen foreign players, and the few I had heard of – Negredo was one – were “shocking” or “wretched”. Switching on Sky at half-time was priceless because the TV panel could not deny this was an awful game. Redknapp, who will surely face a disciplinary for this, called the game “poor”, which in Sky Speak means as bad a game as you could ever see. There were no highlights as such, just a discussion how the referee should have sent someone off, but didn’t. After a minute of this, I did the decent thing: I went to Asda.

Alan Green was still on my radio, thanking listeners for sticking with the programme. Green has his critics, but when a game is truly terrible, there is no one better. There was not a single saving grace to the game and he had not seen a worse team this season, apart from maybe Sunderland. Negredo, suggested Green, could yet atone for his lifeless, disinterested performance by scoring a late equaliser, but you knew his heart wasn’t in it, just like Negredo’s.

None of this was any surprise, was it? Look at the fixtures and this game stood out as a dud. It was always going to be rubbish and so it proved to be. It also summed up the Premier League, with two teams ram-packed (as Jeremy Corbyn might put it) with run-of-the-mill overseas players here for the payday and nothing else, taking the places of promising but unproven young English players, in search of the owner’s quick fix, which never works.

Tomorrow, it’s Liverpool versus Manchester United, or Klopp versus Mourinho as the entire media will frame it. It will form Sky’s snappily named Monday Night Football show and, you can bet, the pundits will be ex Liverpool and United players. There will be some far better foreign players on duty and even a few half-decent English ones and Martin Tyler will soon be gushing about “the best league in the world”. But not if he’d seen Middlesbrough and Watford.

Eclectic Blue

Labour and anti-Semitism

0 Comments 16 October 2016

The pitiful state of the Labour Party has been ruthlessly exposed by the party’s reaction to the results of an all-party parliamentary investigation into anti-Semitism. There can be no doubt that anti-Semitism is a growing problem in society in general, but the evidence has been mounting that it’s a major problem in Labour in particular. And Labour’s senior figures are in denial about it.

Between 2010 and 2015, instances of anti-Semitic hate crime rose by 29%, nearly a third. The National Union of Students (NUS) has a pitiful record of dealing with anti-Semitism, its president Malia Bouattia referring to Birmingham University as a “Zionist outpost”.. The Labour MP Ruth Smeeth received 25,000 – that’s 25,000 – instances of abuse directed at her. Her colleague Luciana Berger received over 2000 abusive tweets within three days in 2014. A fifth of British Jews said they had personally experienced at least one instance of hate crime and/or harassment. We are not talking about a minor story here. This is big news. All political parties have issues with anti-Semitism, but none like Labour, as Jonathan Freedland points out here.

Labour’s problems were such that the party asked Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of Liberty and someone who was not a member of any political party, to conduct an investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Chakrabarti helpfully concluded that Labour had no issues regarding anti-Semitism and, by an astonishing coincidence, promptly joined the Labour Party and was awarded a peerage by leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has since appointed her shadow attorney general. You can say what you want about Chakrabarti but you cannot convince me that she has not sold out her principles for a seat in the House of Lords.

The report said the Labour Party “consistently and effectively (failed) to deal with anti-Semitic incidents in recent years (which gave) force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic”. This was the unanimous report of an all-party committee, including Labour MPs.The report condemned Corbyn for a lack of “consistent leadership” on the issue, which it said benefited people with “vile attitudes” towards Jewish people. Labour’s so called leadership would have none of it.

According to the BBC, Corby said that the “political framing and disproportionate emphasis on Labour” risked undermining it. He said the committee had heard evidence from “too narrow a pool of opinion” and had “violated natural justice” by rejecting requests from Baroness Chakrabarti and the Jewish Labour Movement to give evidence. The well known anti-Semite Ken Livingstone had the brass neck to say that the committee’s findings had been “rigged”. He said: “The membership was either all solidly Tory – who weren’t friends of Jeremy – [or] filled with [Labour] people who would actually go on a few weeks later, to vote for no confidence in Jeremy.” The absolute cynicism of Livingstone knows no bounds. He is effectively suggesting that the MPs who produced the report acted purely in terms of political advantage. But why would they do that? It is not the way all-party committees work. Livingstone is dismissing the mountain of evidence that Labour has a major issue with anti-Semitism, which it does, including his own, but in accusing the committee of bias he suggests that if some of his hard left comrades had been on the committee they would have ignored the evidence and said, like Chakrabarti that there was no problem. The truth is rather different and as the chair Tim Loughton pointed out, “the Jeremy Corbyn commissioned the so-called independent Chakrabarti report, which we feel wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.” After what subsequently happened, how could anyone honestly say any different? It was a clear case of honours for jobs.

Labour is in a mess on so many levels but to see it mired in anti-Semitism takes it to new depths. And if it is not fit to deal with anti-Semitism, how can it be fit for government? Answer: it can’t.

Eclectic Blue

Known unknowns and unknown unknowns

0 Comments 15 October 2016

I wasn’t well enough to go to the Rovers v Gillingham game today, but I wasn’t surprised at the outcome, a 2-1 win to the home team. I was even less surprised by the fact that we scored the winner at the death. We always seem to do that and it isn’t an accident. The teams that the fittest physically and the sharpest mentally are at their strongest throughout the game, rarely running out of steam. Add to that almighty pinches of hunger, desire, confidence, belief and heart, then you have a winning combination. After 12 games, with the team a point off the play offs, five points away from automatic promotion and with a game in hand on almost everyone else, the league table doesn’t lie.

The ‘experts’ didn’t quite see it like that a few short weeks ago, though, did they? Some railed against manager Darrell Clarke’s selections, his tactics and even his tracksuit (I am not making this up). Results weren’t perfect – they never are – so maybe we should start to doubt the manager, even those of us who have never played so much as a Sunday League game, never mind in the third tier of professional football. “Why did Clarke leave out X and pick Y,” asked some people. “It doesn’t make sense.” No, it doesn’t make sense if that player has been suffering from a virus during the week, had some family business to attend to or hadn’t trained well. But us terrace dwellers don’t know that bit. That’s why we’re supporters and Clarke is a manager.

None of this is to say that Rovers are on course for automatic promotion, or even the play offs. A million things can happen between now and the end of the season to turn a good season into a bad one. A series of bad injuries, a run of bad form and a loss of confidence, even the pitch churning up and becoming irreparable. These are the known unknowns, as Donald Rumsfeld might have put it. But I don’t think the known unknowns, or even the unknown unknowns will derail Bristol Rovers.

As a friend of mine put it, we should be erecting a statue to Darrell Clarke at the Memorial Stadium for what he has achieved since inheriting the poisoned chalice of Rovers manager from John Ward. Let us not forget that Ward dropped the club in general and Clarke in particular in a heap of manure with just weeks of the season to go with Rovers on the brink of relegation to the Conference. He could not undo the mess created by John Ward under the shambolic governance of former chairman Nick Higgs in a few weeks, but he could in a year.

I keep wondering when Clarke will go through a bad run and what he will do then. Unless you are Sir Alex Ferguson, every football manager does. But perhaps Clarke is a lower league version of Sir Alex and one day a top flight version. He demands continuity and sets high standards and he will always give a player a chance. I think he might well be the real deal and is already becoming one of the great Rovers managers.

Promotion to the Championship? Well, why not? Worse teams and smaller clubs than Bristol Rovers have been there and stayed there and who would bet against us in a play off final? There wouldn’t be a big enough ticket allocation at Wembley.

Perhaps if they strip Philip Green of his knighthood, they could give it to Darrell Clarke?

Eclectic Blue

Need for speed?

0 Comments 15 October 2016

I will not claim to be the world’s greatest car driver. I have had the odd prang now and then and collected, admittedly 15 years ago, some speeding penalty points and I had a few near misses too. But I do wonder what you need to do to fail a driving test these days.

Yesterday, in what is becoming a weekly event, I received the wanker sign from a BMW driver for having the temerity to be in the correct lane and indeed stay in it. (Anyone who has been on the Sainsbury’s roundabout by the MOD gravy train buildings will know where and what I mean.) I drove up the M32 this morning, a road which has severe speed limits from its beginnings near Cabot Circus to near the Filton exit, not that you would know there were any limits at all from the number of vehicles tearing past way in excess of the limits. And don’t start me on motorcycles, the riders of which seem oblivious to speed limits and, like many of their pedal powered friends, use traffic lights as a basis for negotiation. Contrast with my experiences of driving round Bristol and adjoining areas during the week.

A few weeks ago, I was approaching the small village of Timsbury in Somerset when I noticed a police officer at the junction of the main road holding a speed camera. Given he was standing on a ‘give way’ junction and that his motorcycle was all over the pavement, I did think it odd that he was trying to catch people driving at more than 30 MPH. It seemed an odd use of resources when you see some of the high speed maniacs driving on the Avon Ring Road at any time of the day.

On a daily basis, I see the static speed camera van, catching people out, collecting sums of money from people barely exceeding the speed limit and it really bugs me. This is not traffic policing, as such. It is a means of fundraising.

I once spoke to a police officer who told me that it was not worth bothering to police certain areas in terms of speeding because it would generate other work, such as stolen or unlicensed and uninsured vehicles. Much easier to catch someone doing 26 in a 20 limit, far less (almost no) paperwork to complete, but another criminal to add to the list to allow the home secretary to point out how the government has been cracking down.

Due to matters of resource, I doubt that the police are able to fight things like crime so it must be reassuring there is still money to pay for scamera operators. You don’t catch the real criminals but it brings in a lot of money, so that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

Eclectic Blue

Not innocent, but not guilty.

0 Comments 15 October 2016

I’m not going to say much about Ched Evans. I condemned him as a sleaze ball when he was found guilty of rape and I don’t feel any different about him today. He is not “innocent” as his statement suggested yesterday, but not guilty. In his previous case, he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. In this one, the jury must have had reasonable doubt. Probably guilty means not guilty in the eye of the law.

If you were any doubt about the criminal state of the law in Britain today, this was it. Evans had the best legal team money could buy, issuing £50k bounties to anyone who could help get him acquitted. Two men came forward to repeat the lines that ‘X’ wanted them to “fuck me harder”, the line Evans said she told him on that fateful night. Obviously, it was a fortunate coincidence that these men happened to come forward to give evidence at the re-trial when they were not there at the first one. How lucky they managed to remember what was said.

Now Evans has been found not guilty, he is free to continue his life as a professional footballer, doubtless buoyed by the many millions of pounds in compensation he may demand. Much more disturbing is the poisonous response to the verdict by angry men who have abused X in terrible ways on social networks. Jessica Ennis Hill has also come in for torrid abuse for having told Sheffield United she did not want her name associated with a football club that employed a rapist, as if she had the kind of foresight that would have told her Evans would be acquitted many years later.

Like Brexit, Evans’ not guilty verdict is revealing a very ugly side to our country. Some seem to be serenading him as some kind of folk hero.

No. Nothing has changed. Let’s face facts. British law is accessible only by the rich and well-to-do and if Evans was a Sunday league footballer, we might face an entirely different verdict. Evans lied to get the key to the hotel room and his brother and another man tried to film what was going on. Then he left, leaving X in the room, via the fire exit. Is that what a real man does?

Eclectic Blue

Live from the Man Cave – it’s the Friday Shuffle (14/10)

0 Comments 14 October 2016

Some random music for a Friday afternoon, live from my favourite place, the Man Cave, blaring out from the fancy dan Hi Fi system linked to my iPod.

Like any of these?

1. Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke (ft TI and Pharrell). Controversial? Of course. Great tune. Oh yes.

2. Tonight by the Raspberries. Eric Carmen’s legendary over-the-top band “borrowed” loads of styles. Here he pretends to be Steve Marriott. And it’s wonderful.

3. We are the ones by Shaggy. Always a Lovely Day when Shaggy’s in town.

4. You Ain’t Seen Nothing yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive.There was much more to BTO than this old classic, not least the excellent Not Fragile record from which it came.

5. Running Away by the Polyphonic Spree. The vast army of the Fragile Army (the album from which this beauty comes) owe a little bit to Blondie’s Dreaming from time to time. Nothing like the Spree in music though.

6. Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. A 1960s rehearsal version of this all time great, from the Hawthorne CA record.

7. Sister Golden Hair by America. From their Hearts long player, produced by THE George Martin, who also played keyboards on the album.

8. There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ by AC/DC. The great Bon Scott sings after gargling with some razor blades in this old 12 bar from Dirty Deeds Done Cheap. Much as I liked Brian Johnson, Scott was THE lead singer of AC/DC for mine.

9. Ko Ko Blue by ZZ Top. Classic Top from about 100 years ago. Reminds me what an amazing album Rio Grande Mud still us. “Ice cream, you know what I mean.” They don’t write ’em like that anymore.

10. She’s Not There by the Zombies. Need I say more?

That’s all folks!

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