It’s Kinda Quiet…

Again. I mean…we’ve got the tour coming next year. LITCoA recently came out. The “40” compilation is released on Friday – the day after I turn 49 (HELP! Lol)

They’re at the Scottish Music Awards at the end of November.

And of course there are other extenuating circumstances why things have been quiet.

And on a personal level – the blog is taking a back seat while house-hunting take precedence. I’ve been up and down the country like a yoyo these past two weeks. Up to Glasgow, back to Luton for a day, then down to Bristol and further south west to Devon, back to Luton for a few days and just back last night from another fleeting visit to Glasgow.

I wanted to review seeing Toyah in Bristol last Sunday but I just feel like it’s non stop right now. Exciting, don’t get me wrong, but draining also.

We lost out on one property and we’ll be going for another this week. I think the Scottish market is really healthy right now. It feels it. There is pretty of stiff competition with other buyers out there right now. It’s a seller’s market for sure.

So currently my head just swims with decisions on making offers, how much for, etc, etc. “Offers over…market value…look at the home report…Google Maps Street View reccy…is it worth travelling 400 miles to view it with my own eyes?” Etc, etc…

“Where are the good parts of Glasgow?” Just…endless factors to consider.

Barely had time to do any professional ogling of late. Lol. Though the visit to Devon was to see Virginia and get some “professional” ogling in. Lol. But nothing is happening for me artistically. Don’t know the last time it was when I worked on any art.

I would love it if my next visit to Glasgow was an actual move but who knows?

Yesterday I was in the Flying Duck having an early tea before setting off for Luton (I keep going to say “home” when referring to Luton and then stop myself because I want Glasgow to be home). I walked in and they were playing Talking Heads…and then this came on and it felt SSOOOO apt!

And then tonight discussing all the whys and wherefores with the OH, this came on the radio…

We’ll see later in the week, I guess. And perhaps there might be a bit more SM news too? Or Jim will come back. It’s silly to say how much I miss him…but I just do. The interactivity on SMO is just not the same without him being around.

Lucky I have house-hunting to take my mind off things, I suppose…

The Race (For Life) Is The (Glittering) Prize

It was such a great day today. The weather conditions were perfect. Temps in the high teens, cloudy with a light breeze. Unlike last year when I was a disorganised idiot and turned up 5 minutes before race time, I got there in plenty of time this time.

There didn’t seem to be as many people taking part this year as last year but hopefully we raised just as much. Hopefully more! I certainly raised far more this year. Current total is at £282 (the Just Giving page can take donations until July 20th!), which is beyond my £250 target, and over FOUR TIMES as much as my tally for last year (a meagre £68!).

I did my 10km in 1 hour 39 mins – not exactly Steph Twell (10km in 31 min 8 sec!!! FUCK OFF PT1!) or Eilish McColgan (10km in 31 mins 16 sec! FUCK OFF PT2!) but I at least did the course! And did the full 10km, and not just piked out at 5km.

I had my usual Simple Minds mix on Spotify as my race companion. The mix started with Oh Jungleland – which was kinda a little bit…Grrrr! Seeing as I had initially signed up doing this year’s Race For Life in Glasgow but by April I knew that wasn’t going to be and gave Race For Life a call to see if I could switch it to Luton. Fingers crossed next year’s can happen in Glasgow.

At about the 2.5km point Lostboy’s The Wait Pt1 and 2 played and I really picked up the pace (the course narrows and is a bit of a bottleneck between the 1km-3km mark, and it makes it difficult to pass people and get a pace on – esp. as we all set off and there are so many more 5km participants at the start) and started to pass quite a few people.

A couple of versions of Four Letter Word (the Planet Funk track that came out earlier in the year – Jim on vocals) played, live versions of She’s A River and Don’t You, Promised You A Miracle, the acoustic version of New Gold Dream and then THIS…I LOOOOOOVE this live version of Glittering Prize. I think it might be my favourite live version. I just find it the most uplifting, most positive…life-affirming version. It’s just glorious. And you can just hear how completely “in it” Jim is that night.

So after it played once, I hit the rewind button so it played again. And when it was done, I played it AGAIN…and then AGAIN. Four times over. It took me from the 6km mark to the 9km mark.

So, we’re all done for another year. And I am happy with my effort and absolutely OVER THE MOON with all you guys for helping me raise such a fab amount of money. THANK YOU! You guys rock!

Stay tuned because, honestly, a promise is a promise and I have NO INTENTION on reneging on that promise. On Tuesday, all you £10+ donors are having your names put into a draw for the Somebody Up There Likes You print. The winner will be drawn on FB Live and announced over my social media.

Once again, thank you all for the donations. Let’s do it again (hopefully in Glasgow!) next year 😘😘😘😘

10km Race For Life – 5 Weeks To Go

I raised a miserly £68 last year. If any of you reading this would like to donate, please?! If I could get anywhere near £250 (that’s my target for this year. I had it at £150 last year and barely got halfway there. Don’t like my chances this year, then!) in funds raised, I’d be over the moon. Please consider it?

Please click on the image below (a montage of my efforts last year) to be taken to the donation page. As an extra incentive…the highest donor will get their own personalised art print – SM based or otherwise. THERE YOU GO! No excuses NOT to donate now! Highest donor gets a special Prip print! Get donating!

At the moment – Rob, the print is yours! I can see you with a special Barrowland Star “stinky pies” print. Lol

Ruts DC – The Hat Factory, Luton – March 31st, 2018

My introduction to Ruts DC was with them being support to The Stranglers when seeing them last March at Cambridge Corn Exchange – and, well, conversely it was SM’s billing of support for them (The Stranglers) on the autumn arena leg of the Big Music tour that made me explore them more and go and see them in their own right live (again…I had been aware of them for many, many years, but only knew a few of their songs).

And last night that run continued with Ruts’ support being local reggae/dub/ska band ‘easydread’ (small ‘e’, a la easyjet – they are from Luton after all). They were bloody fab! I ran into the saxophonist/co-vocalist on the way out – a very affable chap he was too. He had stopped to talk to another fan. I noticed him giving the guy a business card. I had no funds with me (a rare occasion on being so close to home, I could just take my phone with me and nothing else), so when he was done chatting with the guy I asked him for a card, said I thought they were fab and he told me of their upcoming gig at Esquires in Bedford.

The band are a seven piece combo, with a brass trio of trumpet, sax and trombone. Definitely worth checking out. This was their closer for their set – dedicated to Luton…

On to Ruts DC. WOW! These guys really are still the biz. It was obvious at the Stranglers gig last year. Both I and the OH were blown away by them, and I had promised myself to see them again. There was a short set they did for BBC Radio 6 Music towards the end of last year that was shared via Facebook Live and seeing that just compounded how fabulous they are to me.

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Amazingly, when meeting Virginia Turbett, we got talking about other bands…who we like, etc (yes, it wasn’t ALL about SM and how many “fruitier” shots of Jim she had…) – and she’s a HUGE Ruts fan!

Rather bizarrely, when I first saw the gig on their FB page, I dithered about going. And continued to do so for WEEKS. I had just been to the SM gigs and so, for one, I was Skinty McSkintface. But I kept pondering it, thinking – it’s local, no travel costs, the ticket price is great…GO ON! And STILL I kept holding off, until Good Friday. I knew I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t go. So, that was it! Mind made up. Ticket bought.

And wow! Never to disappoint, these guys. A-MAZ-ING! An incredible wall of sound resonates from this trio. And they ROCK! Like, REALLY ROCK! They’ve not forgotten their punk roots…only difference is, THEY CAN PLAY! Geez! Can they play! To the degree they make it look like a piece of piss. A cake walk!

Last year, I really didn’t know any of their stuff. But over the year I’ve managed to take in Babylon’s Burning, Jah War and Mighty Soldier – all of which were on the setlist (I think any crowd would string ‘em up if they didn’t do Babylon’s Burning!), but so were Dangerous Minds, In A Rut, West One, Rude Boys, Music Must Destroy and Kill The Pain…all of which are really starting to make in impact on the brain.

I was in the bar last night (no, no drinking…just a place to sit for a bit) and Segs walked past me. I mouthed ‘hi’ to him and he said hello back to me. I couldn’t stop him. What would I say? At that point I was so ignorant, I didn’t even know his name! I just knew he was one of “the boys”. Since then (this morning), I have educated myself some and on who’s who, and a brief history of them.

As for last night and my VERY brief encounter with Segs…well, I wish I could have said, “Hi Segs, can’t wait for tonight. Would you mind signing this for me?” and produce my ticket stub with a pen (yes, Jim…I had a pen on me! Lol). But alas, I felt a fraud for being there and not even knowing his name!

Final words on the gig itself? A masterclass in performance. They are GOOD. Really good. Seriously. GO SEE THEM! I will be in future…again and again.

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A souvenir. If only I had had THIS with me for Segs to sign.

The YouTube clip was filmed pretty much where I was standing last night (the guy was behind me and just to my left) and was MUCH better than my Facebook Live clip.

New Toy – The Sony A68

Oh…the things I want to do! A new camera…and WHAT a camera! Wow. I *may* just chance taking it with me on my first Glasgow trip…but…I will need to leave my belongings unattended for long periods, so it may not be a good idea. Will just have to get out and about snapping away in Luton.

There’s always the ornithological angle…