Uncovering My Tracks (Part #2)

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(Continuation of the serialization: UNCOVERING MY TRACKS)

In truth, it was the cartoon more than the music that commanded my attention of The Beatles and ‘Yellow Submarine.’

I was to remain blissfully unaffected by the hype surrounding the Fab Four for many more years. Indeed, even now, I don’t quite ‘get’ them. I know that amounts to something like heresy, but while I can appreciate their later work, I still have more time for each of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s solo efforts than that they produced together. In fact, ‘Back Off Boogaloo‘ would end up one of my favourite singles from 1972, the words being scrawled in an old-school Kolossal graffiti style across the cover of my English jotter.

Even at the age of ten, I railed against convention. Not for me, this accepting what was uniformly and blindly followed. Unimpressed with the biggest band on the planet, I was already showing a stubborn and ‘punk’ attitude.

I nailed my colours to the Ohio Express and The Scaffold masts in 1968.

1969 was another year more focused on football, Batman and Thunderbirds. I do, however, have vivid memories of returning from the annual Carnival with my Cub Scout Pack, on the top deck of a Glasgow Corporation bus, singing the latest big hit by The Archies. I’m not so sure that was evidence of a musical maturing, though.

Being only eleven / twelve years old in 1970, my scant pocket money stretched only to a copy of Shoot! magazine, a pack of football related bubblegum cards and a handful of gobstoppers. Any money I saved would go towards buying a trick / joke item from Tam Shepherd’s magic shop in Glasgow city centre.

Music and records would not become a priority until the following year when at the age of thirteen I developed the ‘cool’ gene.

OK – maybe ‘cool’ is stretching it. But I was the only kid in school who owned a copy of ‘Kongos’ the first album John Kongos released in his own name. This was the first album I bought and paid for on my own, and came a few months after my first single, ‘Co-Co,’ by The Sweet.

It’s fair to say I got a bit of stick at school for my choices. But hey – nineteen years later, The Happy Mondays covered John Kongos’s ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again.’ It was ‘cool’ then, wasn’t it?

One thing about the early Sweet singles was that while the ‘A’ side was of a pretty commercial, twee style, the ‘B” sides were infinitely more rocking. They had a harder edge, and I played them as much as the principal song.

My musical development was to take on a heavier bias.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Uncovering My Tracks (Part #1)

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Do you recall the precise moment you became aware of music? Not the nursery rhyme type stuff your exasperated parents would sing as you lay in your cot, determined to make them regret that rainy, alcohol infused weekend at the B&B in Rhyl some twenty-seven months previous. No – real music. The stuff that set you off on your personal musical odyssey. (See how I cleverly avoided using that dreadful ‘J’ word, just there?) I grew up in a household filled with the sound of marching military bands and film soundtracks. The Royal Marines Bands Service and South Pacific still come back to haunt me. In fact, having asked my Dad what was the music of choice to get me settled when I was a nipper, I was horrified to hear it was ‘I’m Getting Married in The Morning,’ from the musical, ‘My Fair Lady.’ Sheesh! 1958 – even Pat Boone or Dean Martin would have almost passed as ‘cool’ then. But no – I must have been the most uncool six year old in Glasgow when I first became aware of some combo called The Beatles.

1964 – The Swinging Sixties and all that were just around the corner and the only reason I became aware of the biggest music phenonemon until Wet Wet Wet came along (‘J’ for joke) some twenty-odd years later, was because my father had written a banner with the words ‘She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah Yeah’ to stick on my Uncle Robert’s Triumph Herald on the day of his wedding. And even that was a year after the release date. Unbelievably, it would be another five years before I eventually ‘got with it,’ as we would say. And I remember the precise moment. I was climbing the apple tree in our back garden with my pals, when one mentioned the cartoon he had seen on TV (yeah, I know – apple tree / garden / TV – we were terribly middle class, not that I’m at all ashamed of that) Cartoon? He said ‘cartoon?’ That was me – I was in. What was this ‘cartoon’ of which he spoke? TO BE CONTINUED …

Aaaaaaargh! How do you do it?

Surely Time management can only work if you have Time in the first place?

I got up nice and early this morning, full of vim and verve, ready to crack on with my book, ‘Evhen & Uurth.’ (It’s a working title so it can be excused for the time being.) I had two hours before I’d have to go out to work – I’m a self-employed dog walker, or Pet Professional as I rather snootily prefer – and I’d planned on addressing the following with my characters who have been stranded around page #80 for the past several months:

  •  I needed to rouse De’Ath from his drunken stupor and help him get his shit together;
  •  I needed to work on the character of Corolious the raven as he sets flight on his first errand. He was to be my main character when I started out, but I’ve found others have somehow developed into stronger personalities already;  
  • I had prepare Four Fingers Freddy and Radnor Park for their journey into the Mountains of Gaarg;
  • I had a couple of things in mind for Shorty le Boeuf and his, ‘assistant,’ Biffa. A peaceful hour or so would let me decide their next move;
  • Junior God, Ancor, and his small team at Soul Nourishment were about to be placed in a very awkward and embarrassing situation. 

 

So here’s what I did:

  • I cleaned and disinfected the hallway floor after one of my elderly cats puked all over it;
  • I prepared my business invoices for tomorrow;
  • I spent an age texting various people after two members of my tennis team advised injuries and unavailability for our match at the weekend;
  • I was very short-tempered with two telephone cold-callers;
  • I spent fifteen minutes on Facebook – obviously.
  • I had breakfast;
  • I went to work.

I was quiet at work today. I finished early and returned home full of vim and verve, ready to crack on with my book, ‘Evhen & Uurth.’

And now I’m writing this blog post and listening to Led Zepplin, cranked up to eleven.

 

Hey ho – tomorrow’s another day.

_______________

A Culture Addicted to FREE—How FREE is Poisoning the Internet & Killing the Creatives

This interesting, thought provoking and I reckon, totally ‘bang-on’ article first appeared on Kirsten Lamb’s blog on 9th February.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image used with permission from the creator Ira Gelb. Image “Not for Sale” used with permission from the creator Ira Gelb who’s an activist in stopping Human Trafficking but authorized this image for use outside.

It’s funny, at various junctures I’ve felt propelled to tackle certain topics, even when that made me very unpopular. My biggest leviathan to date has been this notion of artists being expected to work for free, and I believe the reason that this topic is weighing so heavily on me is that, for the first time in years I’m no longer enthusiastic about our future.

In fact, I’m downright frightened, because of THIS.

I Feel Sick

Yesterday morning on my Facebook, a friend shared this open letter to Oprah Winfrey from a local performer in the Bay Area, Revolva, whose act caught the attention of mega-icon Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah was holding The Life You Want conference and the producers contacted Revolva to see if she…

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