Thursday 5th January, 2023

No Premium Bonds joy for January. Arse. Oh well. That’s thirty or so less CD’s I can budget for then.

We fitted in an early morning game of wiff waff at the Table of Dreams. I was a little tender along my arm with the fresh ink still setting. I still managed to beat A 4-3.

I got myself cleaned up back at base. The tattoo moisture routine took me 20 minutes. This is currently a twice daily chore. It needs to change.

Album of the Day: Prince – Sign “☮︎” the Times

This album flows from start to finish, despite the competing styles. There’s great interplay with the other musicians – whenever they are allowed to get a look in. Sheena Easton is a left field choice, but a welcome addition. I could listen to Sign “☮︎” the Times on loop all day long. It was so important to me personally when first released in 1987, and remains so today. Prince’s head at the time was somewhere not really on this planet. No bullshit but the concert film is probably the best live movie ever released.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I caught up with the Forest highlights from last night on MOTD. We looked sharp in attack, strong in defence. More analysis followed from another Garibaldi Reds podcast. I could listen to Fletch all day long explaining how the game works. Disclaimer: he did say at the time that Chris Houghton was the man to deliver promotion for Forest.

Holiday time was booked with the Work Rota Gods; holiday time was approved with the Work Rota Gods. Now what to do with it all? I’m planning a number of Transpontine breaks in S Ldn.

We watched the BBC Essex short clip on the Essex Rebels, plugging the Women’s’ British Basketball League Trophy tournament taking place at the Sports Arena this weekend. It was broadcast a the tail end of the late news last night. I was already BALLS DEEP with Voyager in bed.

It’s a big deal for the Rebels to be hosting the Trophy. There’s eight matches across two days, £5 entry per day. The foundations are being built for a strong sporting set up on campus. It was without a doubt my personal highlight of last year.

I had time mid-afternoon for a bicycle ride. I rolled out on the Raleigh electric on the 35km Lawford route. I’ve missed riding during the recent wet weather.

The new housing development at Elmstead appears to be nearing completion. It’s mostly Brookside Close dumped in N Essex. There are a couple of houses that mimic the classic design of the cottages caught between the no-man’s land of the University and Weird Wiv. It’s a nice touch.

I passed some familiar faces as the Colchester 40+ riders rolled out along the lanes. I also passed dumped in a ditch what looked like a skip full of discarded glass. Fly-tipping is always shitty, but glass ffs?

Some light rain approached on the return leg. I caught some cover at the Farm Shop and helped myself to a fresh supply of frozen croissants to see us through the next couple of months.

I had my third consecutive BrewDog JACKPOT trip to the Coop. A couple of more boxes of Punk IPA were snaffled at the knock down price of £8.45. The best before is not until April. Don’t worry – they’ll be long gone by then.

The Christmas tree and other assorted festive tat was put away for another year. Goodo. The Church lights are still visible when I peer out of the bathroom window.

I stayed clear of the lounge as A caused some destruction with her paint testing pots. Three colours were up for debate as we plan a fresh look. Arguments were avoided as we both decided independently on the same colour – Oval Green. I suspect the name Oval played a role in the decision making here.

I had some South Lambeth Road admin and invoices to sort out. Ldn builders don’t come cheap. Nope.

Album of the Day Extra: Bobby Womack – The Poet

I was expecting great things from The Poet after hearing from several different sources raving about it. Sure, it was soulful, but it wasn’t the masterpiece I was led to believe. There’s too much reliance on the technology of the time. The songs would have worked better on the raw power of a live band.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Wednesday 4th January, 2023

I know: let’s book the day off work; but what to do? Oh yeah, Day 3 of the FUCK OFF sleeve tattoo, innit. I love my holiday time.

It started with the usual pre-tattoo shaving ritual. One arm clean as a baby’s backside, the opposite arm resembling an ageing guerrilla. It’s quite a look, ladies.

I cycled into Sunny Colch on the Brompton. Two birds, one stone etc. The plan was to drop the Brompton off for a service. It was the first time that I have ridden it without the front and rear carrier in a while. It’s a mean ride when foot loose and fancy free.

The very nice Bicycle Shop man booked me in. I also went with the upgrade option of a pair of poncey tan wall tyres. It’s a Ldn thing, innit.

I made my way over to the tattoo studio. The public Christmas trees around Sunny Colch were being dumped in the skips. And thank the chuff for that.

It was a great session in the Inking Chair. It got off to a good start when my tattoo man tipped me off about the Satantic Bible. He lives his life by it apparently. I very much like his style.

There was a lot of early morning planning and sketching taking place on my arm. Much like painting and decorating, it’s all about the prep. It was busy in the studio. My man was the last to fire up his ink gun about an hour later.

A TV screen has been installed since my last visit before Christmas. We watched the morning matinee of Star Wars A New Hope, and then followed this up with The Empire Strikes Back for the afternoon session.

Some heavy inking took place during the first few hours. I put on a brave face. At least I didn’t faint like I did in L******er back in 1995.

I was told to get some air and stretch my legs at luncheon. There was the annual Jumble Sale at the Arts Centre. There was some half decent DVD’s, but I know we wouldn’t get round to watching them.

I did a brief charity shop CD trawl. I managed to pick up Nanci Griffith’s Greatest Hits for £1. From A Distance, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness and the delightful Love at the Five and Dime. What a girl!

I actually fell asleep during the afternoon ink session. The heavy lifting had been done. It was the case of lightly filling in the gaps.

A good day, a good holiday.

I wandered off into the early evening darkness of Sunny Colch. Some dude had his headphones on and was belting out The Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down. I do like oddness.

I was Brompton-less, and with no trains back to Weird Wiv either because of that nice Mick Lynch. I had to bus it back. I benefitted from the £2 fare that the government has rather quietly rolled out between now and March. It still took 45 minutes to travel 8km.

Wednesday evening was spent cleaning up the tattoo and listening to the Forest commentary away at Southampton. It’s a dirty job, etc.

This was the first time this season I was expecting an away win. Four fist pumps from Cooper capped the perfect holiday.

Links for Wednesday 4th January, 2023

Battersea Power Station: beautiful on the outside, bland on the inside – Brixton Buzz

The Barmy Twelfth Night Bacchanal That Happens On Bankside Every January | Londonist

‘Our beautiful mission’: VanMoof boss on changing cities with e-bikes | Manufacturing sector | The Guardian

Tuesday 3rd January, 2023

A bloody miserable day stuck out in the Estuary Wilds. No worries. I had wfh, I had a pile of CD’s and I had a pot of hot tea on the go throughout the day. LIVE the dream, Jase. Live the dream.

Today was always going to be a good day after the tax refund was confirmed first thing. I reached for the calculator and worked out how many CD’s I could snaffle up with the kitty.

All the excitement led me to a Greater Anglia fuck up. I’ve got my cheapo tickets for next week. But wait! What’s this? I couldn’t find any tickets in my digital folder for a couple of week time. I bought some tickets and paid a little more than I was expecting. I then found that I had already bought some tickets, but didn’t download them.

Doh!

A patient phone call with Mr Greater Anglia ended in a refund for the duplicates.

Album of the Day: Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

This album chugs away. It sounds like the perfect driving music – if I could drive. It’s an ambitious record that never strays far from its key message. I’m not sure what that key message is, but that doesn’t matter. It makes you feel as though you are part of something. I love the mixing up of the vocals between Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Sharing these might sound confusing with other other artists. But not for Sonic Youth. They blend together well without you ever realising that the interplay is taking place. Decent.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Postman Delivers: Jazz for Absolute Beginners and More Specials.

The jazz album is something of a personal classic for me. I bought it on vinyl when it was released in 1986. It did the job of offering up a jazz opening for… absolute beginners. I’ve used it as my starting point in subsequent years to reach out a little further. The CD appeared in my daily alerts at a bargain price.

And then there was Terry 😔

I bought More Specials a few days before news of his passing appeared. I’m not sure that I can play this CD now. There is a lovely Two Tone CD label imprint.

My post is all over the bloody place right now. I worked out that I’m still missing a couple of CD’s bought during the first week of December. Other items bought last week have already arrived. I’ve raised the issue with the eBay sellers.

We’re still getting a couple of Christmas cards each day.

Album of the Day Extra: Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

There’s far too much going on. It did me nut in tbh. A bloody racket.

I reached for the crate of reggae 12’s and pulled out at random Barrington Levy’s Here I Come. It’s the original pressing from 1985. There’s a couple of killer mixes on the flip. It’s been added to my To Digitise pile for the Jay-C YT channel.

Tackling the telly and modern interweb renewal came next. The current BT deal ends at the start of next month. Now would seem like a good time to shop around and blag one of the fibre deals that are currently being rolled out around Weird Wiv.

BT coverage has been patchy of late. I’ve had to reboot the router most mornings recently. But there’s a decent deal covering BT Sport and all Sky Sports channels bundled in via Now. We currently pay Now separately. Switching them all over to BT works out slightly cheaper.

I did the deal.

A random look at the diary dates for the Sunny Colch Arts Centre threw up a few surprises. The Style Councillors (tribute act) and Steve Ignorant are both appearing later this year. I also logged some dates of the Vinyl Club that takes place on Sunday lunchtimes. I started to attend these before Covid shit broke out. The Who, The Jam and The Cure all have album playbacks coming up.

I was surprised to receive a response to my latest FoI from Big Organisation X – a couple of weeks ahead of the deadline as well. This has been a passive aggressive online battle from both sides for the best part of two years now. It’s interesting what can happen when you have that nice Information Commissioner batting for your side.

I played the Nina Wild is the Wind CD into the early evening. The title and the music were perfect for the bloody Estuary Wilds blustery conditions. It’s a remarkable album, so soulful and melancholy. It makes you want to drink red wine and sit alone on a rocking chair to take it all in.

The BrewDog JACKPOT was hit at the Coop later in the evening. I only went in for some milk; I walked out with four boxes of the Brew beast. I’ve had a few run ins over the Christmas period with the pricing of BOOZE at the Coop. There was no mistakes made here.

*actually there was. The IPA Punk was priced at £8.45. Both boxes went through the till at £6.50.

#chinchin

Monday 2nd January, 2023

Another morning, another run around the University. I passed five other Bank Holiday runners during the 8km circuit. That’s encouraging. The days of the lone running weirdo seem to have disappeared. It was a pacy time at 5’05” per km. It led to my fastest time around this route since the summer.

The ONS mailed with another Covid shit test failure. Oh dear. I’ve only been sticking a swab down my throat and up my nostrils each month for almost three years now. You’d think I would would have got the hang of it by now. But nope. Hey hoe. That’s another £20 Decathlon voucher blagged though.

The morning was spent talking to the cats. It’s what you do when you’re on your own. I was so lost in Cat World that I was half expecting a response. It would have been useful to hear Dotty try to rationalise how and why she managed to leave a bloody big blackbird stone cold and out for the count on the patio.

Dotty is a one.

I caught up with the Garibaldi Red podcasts following the two games at the weekend. The consensus seemed to be: Man Utd – not a disaster, Chelsea – we’ll take a point, thank you very much. There was also the mention of League Cup Fever, which almost made me cut myself whilst shaving.

Out went the shout of: To Broad Lane! …shortly after luncheon. The Dragons were hosting Burnham Ramblers in another league match. Disclaimer: I don’t think Burnham Ramblers are a team of folk who enjoy rambling around Burnham.

The car park was once again full ahead of the 2pm KO, another sign that a BUMPER Bank Holiday crowd was expected. As per usual, my fashionably late arrival meant the I missed the first goal from the Ramblers.

The away team were wearing a very fetching all red kit, shorts and socks as well. Forest rarely play in this combination these days. I always think it looks most classy.

The Ramblers’ centre half sliced a ball out of the ground for a throw. Without a pause for thought, the Wivenhoe old soaks behind the goal led out a chant of:

“Foot round the wrong way! He’s got his foot, round the wrong way!”

Which made me smile. I was bloody annoyed with the Forest Rent Boy chant at The World Famous City Ground last night. I thought that shit was left in the distant past. The Wivenhoe wit raised a smile and restored my faith in football culture.

Burnham played a dirty game. The ref was dodgy. The final score of 2-0 to the visitors seemed harsh on the Dragons.

full flickr set

I cycled back to base and realised that the garden shed needed a little love. I surprised myself with being a little handy with a hammer as the sun started to set.

The Cardigans – First Band on the Moon

This was little too happy clappy for my liking. Plus it’s not personal, but I had problems with the voice. Too sugary when I wanted a little more anger. I listened to the album whilst carrying out various online admin tasks. It completely passed me by from start to finish with nothing memorable. Inoffensive, but then so is marmalade.

⭐ ⭐

An email dropped from the Serpentine Swimming Club:

“Can we please all stop from acting entitled?”

Surely not.

And then something really, really ODD happened with the daily eBay alerts. Rarely do you get a run where everything just clicks. The items that you have a search running for all deliver at the same time.

It started off with the listing of The Selecter’s ACE Celebrate the Bullet album on CD. This often appears on vinyl for around £25. I’ve already got a copy. But I’ve yet to see it on CD. One was listed with a £2.99 starting price. WATCHING.

Likewise for Roxy’s Manifesto on CD. For some reason this goes for silly money compared to the rest of the Roxy back catalogue. The listing today dropped at 99p. Ooohhhhh. I’ll have a bit of that. It’s the one item missing that will complete the Roxy set for me.

A beautiful Forest sweatshirt from the mid 80’s appeared next. It didn’t have a ridiculous retirement price for the seller either. Another one added to the Watch List.

#excited

I somehow managed to pick up a copy of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis’ Smoking in Heaven CD with a £2.50 offer. £10 would have seemed more like the market rate.

It got better. A stunning Diesel rainbow striped jumper was up next in the email alerts. But It Now for £22. Or make me an offer. I offered £10. It was accepted.

#cheekyfucker

Liverpool away at Brentford was funny as fuck.

Darts was as entertaining as ever.

Links for Monday 2nd January, 2023:

Album Covers with Bikes – Rate Your Music. via @documentally 🚴

“So far, tech journalists have approached Mastodon like it’s another startup. By trying to force Mastodon into their usual narratives, they’re missing that what’s really innovative about Mastodon isn’t its technology — it’s the platform’s values.”

Tech Journalism Doesn’t Know What to Do With Mastodon

Very little of this year was planned. A lot of it just happened. In the words of Douglas Adams: I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. Douglas Adams achieved many wonderful things in his 2565 weeks. I can only aspire to do the same despite already having 91 weeks on his record, as I sit at 2656.

Deep shit from @Documentally

London exhibitions to visit in January 2023

Sunday 1st January, 2023

The fireworks overnight were a right pain in the arse. The cats weren’t happy, and neither was I as they woke me up. BALLS to NYE and all the enforced fun. I’ll enjoy myself on my terms when I want to, thank you. And so can you. But hopefully not with FUCK OFF fireworks. During a cost of living shit crisis as well.

Six hours later and we were woken by a strange sound from up above. Something was running across the tiles in the attic bedroom. It wasn’t a bird – the sound was far to heavy footed. Daisy and Dotty showed an interest and leapt to the attic window.

A minute later and so did I.

Oh, bloody squirrels down the chimney. Cheers, bloody squirrels.

We’ve spotted the odd squirrel making a dart across the wisteria in recent days. I thought nothing of it. Now I can see that we have got a potential squirrel situation that requires some immediate attention.

It may explain the alarming sounds I have heard in recent weeks coming from the other side of the household walls. I hate to think about any possible nest within the cavities.

We had plans for a New Year’s Day bicycle ride, but I bottled it. The bloody Estuary Wilds weather yesterday meant that the lanes would still be wet. That’s not for me.

The playing of the New Year’s Day Wiff Waff Cup at The Table of Dreams was also put on hold. It was a little too windy to attempt a serious game.

And so instead, out went the shout of: To Brightlingsea! And back!

We walked with purpose along the estuary. We clocked the Walking Man who seems to walk every waking hour around Weird. Wiv.

“Go on, ask him what his story is”

…as I’m often told by A. But I never do. It was decent then to get a Happy New Year off the fella as he paused momentarily ahead of circling the village for possibly the tenth time already this morning.

I wasn’t in the mood to add a HAPPY NEW YEAR greeting to every fucker we saw. And believe me – there were ample other fuckers doing the same NYD walking thing as us.

I reached for the AirPods and had a delightful three hours with Robert Elms as he played out some of his favourite moments from 2022.

It’s been a wonderful year for the London Nu Jazz / Reggae / Soul crossover. Elms made the very valid point that much of it has come from female artists as well. It’s a definite London thing. There’s a hat tip to the jazz of the past, but it has the mash up that could only come out of Hackney, Lambeth and erm, Croydon.

We paused briefly at Fat Bloke’s Bench.

One of the few people I was happy to speak with was J, out doing her own NYD walking. We had a pleasant chat about the Clacton Blue Tits swimming crowd. I’m tempted to tag along.

We pressed on towards Thorrington. The path turned to peak Glasto like conditions. The wellies underfoot were a wise choice.

Brightlingsea Church on the top of the hill was soon reached. It was time to refuel on some of the Grasmere Gingerbread sent down by A’s brother before the Christmas break.

We were then left with a dilemma. We wanted to carry on walking cross-country down to Brightlingsea front, but we doubted the reliability of the Sunday bus service. Being stuck in Brightlingsea at 4pm with no light is no place to be on New Year’s Day.

And so we turned around and followed pretty much the same route back. A detour was taken around the gravel pits, leading us back down to the estuary.

flickr set

The wind had died down. Plans were back on track for the wiff waff New Year’s Day Cup to be contested. The Table of Dreams looked like it had staged its own party overnight. At least the little shits hadn’t attempted to burn it down again.

There was a slight wind assistance to the game. I can judge this better than A when I’m serving. I still couldn’t find a response to her return of serve. She lifted the New Year’s Day Cup with a 4-2 win. There isn’t a New Year’s Day Cup, btw.

We were back at base to catch the second half of the lolspurs match, and then I settled down to watch Forest from The World Famous City Ground.

I feared for us when we went 1-0 down. But this is a team that won’t lie down. I still think we’ll avoid relegation, but only on the last day of the season.

Darts was a fine way to end New Year’s Day.

Links for Monday 1st January, 2023

“They talked about ‘Vauxhall Village’ and I queried where that was supposed to be. They as good as said they were creating it, as some kind of community environment. I’m still looking for it.”

Jane’s London does the Transpontine thing.

How much distance do you need to ride to match an elite cyclist? Strava end-of-year stats compared | road.cc

Saturday 31st December, 2022

A lovely comment was left on my YT channel overnight. I uploaded a Winston Francis track. His son got in touch saying that he had played the song to his Dad. He had no memory of recording it. But his name is there on the label.

Not so pleasant listening was the bloody church bells. They threatened to ring for two hours solid. I had to escape. ParkRun thoughts were abandoned with the rain. And so instead a Weird Wiv Waddle.

I had kms in my legs and time to eat up. I set out on the 14km route that takes in the Hythe, and then back down to the Quay. Hopefully the bells would have exhausted all their dinging and donging before I burnt up.

The Flag Man at the top of the town delivered once more. He was flying a Happy New Year flag. Good effort, fella.

A little further along the route and the dirty, dirty river reeked of shit once again. The rain brings out the worst.

I passed a couple out walking on the run in back to the University, They were stripped off down to their T-shirts. It was a mighty mild NYE.

I also saw the lockdown walking fella. It’s always a reassuring sight. He was a daily fixture during those dark Covid shit days, walking around my University running route. He’s kept up the routine ever since.

The highlight of final stretch along the Quay was the appearance of Tricycle Woman. She’s a mature rider that rolls out on a very large and over-sized three wheeler. Chapeau, Madam!

Oh – and the bloody bells had stopped as well. Job well done – me, not them.

Strava tells me my time was one hour and thirteen minutes for the 14km route. This is the fastest that I have run it.

Back at base and The Postman Delivers: Nina.

Lush. It’s actually a brand new sealed copy from HMV.

The Postman Also Delivers a new tax code for the new year. HNY, Mr Taxman.

We had a badminton court booked again at the University over lunchtime. A decided to cycle it, I chose to walk in the rain. I listened to the last hour of Robert Elms. He had an ACE interview with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops. He also dropped Bowie’s Where Are We Now, a song which is standing up to be one of his finest moments.

There was a 5-a-side game taking place outdoors on the football pitches. Respect to the players persevering in the pissing rain.

We had a decent badminton session. Don’t be fooled by the 4-1 scoreline. I pushed A throughout the hour, but she had the upper edge. Random shuttlecock feathers were scattered around the sports hall. Shuttlecocks are very, very odd.

I stopped off at the Coop to pick up some milk. There is a whole Easter Egg display already in place. Who the fuck buys bloody Easter eggs on New Year’s Eve?

I had another BOOZE incident. The four pack of Guinness was priced incorrectly. I stood my ground and got the offer I thought was mine.

Chin chin.

New Year’s Eve also means the annual renewal of the Serpentine Swimming Club membership. It remains the best value swimming price in London – £20 to swim outdoors all year round.

We watched the Brighton Vs Arsenal match, then the Danny Boyle Yesterday film.

We were in bed by 10am. BALLS to having a good time.

Links for Saturday 31st December, 2022

“I hope you spent Christmas Day doing something that makes you happy because I surely did. A friend picked me up in his car and we headed to NW London where we at first pootled around the streets either side of Scrubs Lane in North Kensington & East Acton”

Jane’s London – she knows how to live. MY kinda Christmas.

“But I’m impressed to have been to every London borough at least 18 times this year – on average once every three weeks – because that’s how I get to blog across the entire capital. I doubt that many Londoners spread themselves so broadly in 2022.”

DG – Man About town, innit.

New law in California means drivers must change lanes when overtaking cyclists | road.cc

Would love to see this in the UK.

Friday 30th December, 2022

Robert Elms had some fitting words for Vivienne Westwood:

“Beauty, rebellion, anger and joy.”

It’s not a bad way to live your life. Plus he also remembered one of the best quotes from Vivienne:

“If in doubt, dress up.”

It prompted me to put on a cravat on whilst I got the hoover out for a quick spruce up.

I was aware that Vivienne had Clapham as her base, but I was never really sure whereabouts. Clapham is such a sprawl from the Clapham North End all the way over to the edges of Clapham South and beyond. I assumed that she had one of the grand old Georgian town houses on the edges of the Common.

A quick online search and woh! Well I never. The information is out there if you want to find it. For almost 25 years I have been running past her house above a shop as I pound the mean streets of CO7.

What a girl.

The Postman Delivers: Dusty and Love. Love Dusty, etc. Dusty was a recent entry on the 1001 albums generator. A cheapo CD was snapped up straight away. I’ve never actually played the Love album from start to finish, although it all seems familiar. I confess to preferring The Dammed’s version of Alone Again Or. You bounder! You cheat!

I searched for Dammed CD’s on eBay. They don’t come cheap at £10+. I set up a alert, hoping that one might slip through under-priced.

Too much time was then spent chasing missing eBay items. Yes, yes – the postal strike and Christmas shit are probably responsible. But I’m waiting on CD’s that were due for delivery in the first week of December. Plus there’s also an item that I had to pay extra postage on in mid-December that still hasn’t turned up.

I took out my frustration on a 10km run. My Apple Watch gave me a little grief. The music I transferred over to the watch wasn’t appearing. I decided on a silent run instead.

With dusk approaching I decided to run in the flashing LED cycling vest. It always gets a few looks, and the odd comment.

“You look like a Christmas tree, mate!”

…as some good owd Essex boy told me.

Oh do fuck off, fella.

I’m making the most of the running over the next few days. I’m back in the tattoo studio next week with another enforced month of no fitness. My left knee buckled a few times before I was warmed up. I decided to ignore it and pressed on around the University.

I played the Dusty CD early evening. It’s a stunner. New Year’s Eve plans were discussed with A. I bloody hate NYE. I had the get out clause of having some random work shifts throughout the evening.

We battled with the one Sky stream throughout the evening with the darts and football. A won with the darts.

Links for Friday 30th December, 2022

“The service is being used to prop up MyLondon and the ES. Reporters at the former are expected to come up with regular “furious resident” stories and dismal vox-pops which shine a light on nothing apart from the shortcomings of corporate local journalism”

Disco D rounds up another year on 853. Do support him. No other fucker is doing this sort of work around his patch.

Bussi aims to break Van Dijk’s Hour Record in 2023

Thursday 29th December, 2022

Some work admin first thing on Thursday. Oh – I need t take eleven weeks holiday before the end of March. The rather unique structure of my working patterns doesn’t mean that it will be eleven weeks solid. But the time is there. Use it or lose it, etc. I’d rather keep on earning tbh.

The rather unique structure of my working patterns also meant that I had time for a mid-morning bicycle ride. Chapeau!

The roads around the bloody Estuary Wilds are still sodden with puddles and potholes lining the lay-bys. But I was in need of a ride. I rolled out on the Raleigh electric.

Five minutes in and I realised that my badminton injury had returned. My badminton injury – just listen to me. I think I twigged my shoulder once again lifting the F-OFF Raleigh electric out of the garden shed. It was painful looking over my shoulder each time I wanted turn.

Once again the roads of NE Essex were full of (mostly) knobbers. I should keep a tally of the number of close pass incidents.

I soon reached the lanes. The crappy cars disappeared. It was a busy morning for the proud wind turbines around St Osyth. I also had a head wind for most of the return leg of the final loop. I had no shame in upgrading the Raleigh electric from Eco to Tour mode.

Back at base and I noticed that the spanner icon had appeared on the bicycle display unit. This means that 500km have been clocked up and the Raleigh electric is in need of its first service. An Ipswich date was penciled in for the new year.

Album of the Day: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psycho Candy

Melodies, noise and a sense of danger. This album is bloody brilliant. The Spector inspired production teases you with the melodies that are hiding away underneath all that feedback. Psycho Candy was responsible for the reverb on amps being fucked around with in teenage bedrooms throughout the mid 80’s. Guilty. At the root of the record are some beautiful songs. The Mary Chain are classic rock ‘n’ roll: flicking the finger but tearful behind the shades.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I had a reckless late afternoon gardening session. Reckless gardening sessions are always the best. I chucked any old shit that had long since lost the will to live into the garden waste bag. This included the four indoor peppers that have proven to be spectacularly crap at delivering this year.

Some more Neil Young listening followed. He’s got a great back catalogue that could probably see me through the first few months of 2023. I picked up the Everybody Knows This is Nowhere CD from Rat Records last year for £3. I played it for the first time this evening. Woh!

Harvest followed, which then reminded me of the incredible Charles Bradley cover of Heart of Gold. It was recorded in 2011, but it sounds like 1969. There’s so much warmth, so much soul.

I finally finished ordering the 400+ new CD’s A-Z. That was a bloody effort. I celebrated by watching the darts, BOOZE free for once.

Oh yeah – we survived the evening without putting the heating on. Today was a good day.

Links for Thursday 29th December, 2022

Smash The System book launch event – Edinburgh and online

Cycling trends and traditions that are gone but not forgotten — hark back to wool shorts, massive gears and terrible bar tape | road.cc

Mastodon founder says investors lining up since Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover

“At Mastodon, we believe that there doesn’t have to be a middleman between you and your audience and that journalists and government institutions especially should not have to rely on a private platform to reach the public.”

Editorial Strike Map and the Mail – the spectre of workers’ unity | Morning Star

Wednesday 28th December, 2022

The first task on Wednesday morning was the Forest catch up and fall out from the night before. A 3-0 defeat away at Old Trafford isn’t the end of the world. I watched the match last night in a BOOZE haze, with also one eye on the darts on the telly.

A quick read of the Forest Twitter world, and then The Athletic and yep, the same conclusion seems to have been reached by the more rational Forest fans: not a great night of football, but there’s no time to dwell upon this. We’ve got Chelsea at home this weekend. The PL is BRUTAL.

Album of the Day: Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind

I’m beginning to understand that Nina is the greatest ever female artist. Wine, sex and social issues all blend effortlessly together throughout this album – sometimes at the same time. The Wild is the Wind title track is overblown and bonkers. WHAT A WOMAN! This would be a six star album, if six were available. It’s without a doubt the best record so far in almost a year of listening to an album a day on the 1001 generator site. I broke my usual £3 maximum online rule and picked up a CD for £6. Outstanding.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Top work from Dave Winer. I noticed that he added overnight a search function to FeedLand. The product is growing in ways that it looks like he wasn’t anticipating. That’s always the case with the modern interweb. You build something, and then the users take it in a different direction.

FeedLand is now my default RSS reader. I’m excited to see where Dave takes it next. He’s evangelical about Mastodon as Twitter dies a painful death. The ability to use FeedLand as a reading and writing tool is pretty cool.

I listened a little to Gilles Peterson from Christmas Eve. He sounded unusually downbeat. There was still some quality music across the three hours: Run Logan Run, Shabaka Huchings and Tom Skinner. What an ACE year it’s been for new music.

The bloody Estuary Wilds weather wasn’t going to improve at any time today. I was itching for some exercise. I put on my ridiculous Ron Hill tracksters and the Lidl cheapo running jacket. I set off around the 8km University route.

Two minutes in and a fully blown FUCK OFF tank passed me down the Weird Wiv High Street. wtf? The viewing hatch had a female standing high aloft, much in the same manner as Thatcher in that iconic Iron Lady photo. Like I said: what the actual fuck? Funny old town.

Most of the run was spent dodging puddles. It became a little clearer around the back of the University. The pavement still has the Covid shit arrows markings. It seemed like a distant world away when we were all avoiding each other. I rather miss those lack of social interaction days.

Turkey soup was taken for lunch. We threw all the shit left over from the past few days and boiled it up. We watched a little of the Novara laugh-a-minute end of year catch up as we filled our faces. They’re a decent bunch that are at least offering an alternative to the mainstream shit.

I made a start in the afternoon of organising all the CD’s I’ve bought in the past year A-Z. Anal, yes, I know. I can’t find anything and I haven’t a clue what I’ve bought. There’s around half a dozen duplicates where I have messed up.

The plan was to have a To Listen pile, and then integrate these into my old A-Z arrangement when it was time to move on. This worked out fine when the To Listen was 10 or so CD’s. It’s now closer to 400.

Whoops.

The cats slept together for most of the day. They really are delightful when they are like this. We noticed a couple of squirrels running along the wisteria whilst the cats were out for the count. I’m not sure Dotty would be any match for them. We also noticed some bird shit on the windows that I cleaned last week.

I battled with A late afternoon for control of the music. She wanted Carl Orff; I was more a Jesus and Mary Chain man. BUGGER ORFF, etc. The Mary Chain track with Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star remains a stunner.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Sleeps with Angles came up next. I flirted with this a little at the time on the back of grunge. But it didn’t give me the buzzing off yer tits party vibe that you need as a 24 year-old. Over time and Neil Young has really grown upon me. He has a beautiful voice.

We dipped in and out of the darts, plus the DIRTY DIRTY Leeds match on the telly to end Wednsday.

Links for Wednesday 28th December, 2022

Places That Closed Down In London 2022

Obituary: The Hardy Tree, St Pancras Old Church

Tuesday 27th December, 2022

Buzzed: Homes for Lambeth asks Council for another £3m – despite Kerslake Review critical of the company’s ‘overcharging’

Homes for Lambeth has come begging to Lambeth Council again for an extra £3m of public money – despite the Kerslake Review being highly critical of the “overarching direction for HfL.”

Album of the Day: Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

This album is pretty much the blueprint for the many great, strong females records in recent years. You can hear how influential it’s been on Adele, Duffy, even Amy in attitude. The horns and the Sweet Inspirations bring out the best of Dusty’s voice. You can see why Elvis was so keen to get them on board. Breakfast in Bed is a bit of a tear jerker.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I had time for a brief bicycle ride at lunchtime. The bloody Estuary Wilds wet wether has kept me away from the Raleigh electric in recent weeks. It was time to change that.

I checked the air pressure on the tyres. They were down to around 30 PSI. The recommendation is between 40-60 PSI. The inners that I bought last week suggested that they need topping up every fortnight. I took no chances and gave the front and rear a good blast with the track pump.

I rolled out, not quite sure where I was heading. I had the sun on my back and an optimistic winter fly also soaking up the December rays close to my cycling specs. There was a light breeze. Rowing for the afternoon had already been cancelled because of expected high winds. I think this was a little over cautious.

MY GOD. There are some shitty, shitty drivers around these parts. There was too many incidents and near misses on the hour and a half ride to document. Most involved close passing.

This is something I rarely experience back in S Ldn. The critical mass of cyclists has led to drivers learning to share the space. Essex is stuck around 1975 on the cycling timeline.

I got my revenge climbing Tenpenny Hill on the electric. Some arsehole pushed me from behind, hinting in a not very diplomatic manner that he wanted to overtake. I flicked from Eco to Turbo mode. WHOOSH! Catch me now, fella.

Soon I was out along the lanes. That’s more like it. I relaxed and took in the winter countryside scenery. If you squint a little then I’d admit that it looked half decent. 27km in total. The Raleigh electric is a LOVELY ride.

My tight arse ways led to a trip to the Coop to see what I could pilfer from the Christmas reduced aisle. I did rather well.

I rewarded myself by also picking up four cans of Guinness. I got to the checkout and then panicked when I realised these were alcohol free. wtf? They soon went straight back where they came from.

eBay pinged on the watch. I offloaded a Kirsty CD which I had a duplicate of. That will pay for the other Kirsty CD I picked up in Sunny Colch on Christmas Eve. It’s all about the spreadsheets, innit.

Album of the Day Extra: The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs

It really is 69 songs. Oh dear. I’d struggle to listen to 69 songs by The Beatles in one sitting, let alone 69 songs by a US indie act I don’t give a shit about. Most of the songs reminded me of nursery rhymes, rather than love songs. I made it as far as track 23. Nice innuendo with the album title, all the same.

⭐ ⭐

An email landed telling me that my Flickr subscription is du for renewal in a couple of weeks. I still think it’s amazing value at £59.99 per year. I tend to use the platform these days as a back up. I dump all my photos there, some for public view, others protected.

Since 2005 I’ve uploaded 77,341 images. Woh. That’s a lot of data. The Flickr model works well. They know that most people will renew, or risk losing a lifetime of memories. I’v got back ups of back ups of back ups elsewhere; but finding my own content on Flickr from over the years is simple with the search options.

I decided against watching D***y County playing THIRD Division football. Instead I turned to YT where the Chippers channel had dropped a Fray at Halfway Forest catch up. The old BBC double act was back together again, albeit from the other side of the world.

Which leads nicely to the evening entertainment. Just the small matter of Forest away at Old Trafford. I’ve actually seen Forest play at Old Trafford on three occasions – two of which were against Liverpool, which is a little odd.

I have memories of the League Cup Final replay back in 1978. Then there was a storming away day against Man Utd in the 1989 FA Cup. My final trip was for the Hillsborough replay against Liverpool in 1989. Never again.

The return to Old Trafford would be the first time watching Forest play there in the Premier League for many fans. Twenty three years away is not a good stat.

Come FT and I’m not sure if the wait was worth it.

Oh well.

#TwoStarsOnTheBadge

Links for Tuesday 27th December, 2022

Here Are the Best Articles We Published in 2022, Picked By The Novara Team

onionbagblog