A.J. Walker

writerer

Better Be: A Retune

Been a while since I've done any recording of my guitar practising so I've done one today which is a reattempt at the classic Crowded House song 'Better Be Home Soon'.

This is actually my third attempt. My first one was an open chord version which I struggled and failed to get to the highest notes, so for the second one I played with a capo. This was deeper and easier to hit the high notes but in some ways less lively to sing. So for the third version I've gone back to the open chord version.

BetterBe

Still struggle with the highest notes but hell it's better than it was and is a livelier version than the capo one. I may not have a good singing voice but it's improving with practice.

The other thing I am trying to do now is practice strumming patterns. Eek! Think that should be the quickest way to get better to be honest. Do wish I'd had some lessons when I was younger. Anyways, onwards and upwards. And whilst I'm practising I've got the aim to write three songs before the end of the year. Perhaps I'll choose a theme from a VSS365 prompt.

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New Songs, New People

Open Mic again last night, so of course I was there again. Ollie arrived later so I went up first to be followed by Matt Author.Com. There was another poetry performance, which was funny. And a couple of the excellent regulars as well as a couple of Open Mic virgins.


OpenMicAgain

Started and ended with a few of my usuals, which sandwiched in a few new ones for me from the Waterboys and Green on Red.

Set list:

  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn
  • Strange Boat
  • A Man is in Love
  • Shed a Tear (for the Lonesome)
  • Whiskey in my Whiskey

There was a bit of a CAMRA event on in the pub with Karl, the brewer from Liverpool Brewing Company there, so downstairs was busy with some CAMRA bods. I introduced a blue nose from CAMRA to the event and he enjoyed watching one of the newbies and a couple of classics from Dave Glyn Jones.

As I was off on Friday I even went on for a pint with everyone, in The Swan, before getting the last bus home. A predictably good evening.
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Strange Love

Made some time to play some guitar this afternoon and went back to some oldies from The Waterboys.

StrangeBoat
Strange Boat

Went for Strange Boat and A Man Is In Love two classics. Next time maybe Fisherman's Blues and A Bang On The Ear. We'll see.

First time up I ended up with lots of background noise before I realised I had on my CD, amp and PS3. Turned these off and the noise disappeared. You live, you learn.

Anyways, now time to write something for the Seedling Challenge.
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Steeling Myself

Going on my second Wirral ale trip tomorrow. Back to the great Yorkshire beer city - Sheffield. Looking forward to it. Know my way around the city's boozers pretty well by now.

Yesterday I played at the Open Mic in the Sanctuary once more. I was back in a checked-shirt (green). As well as being back in a proper garb, we were also back were we were supposed to be upstairs with a microphone and PA. Huzzah! We were down one Bobo though, who was home with Delhi Belly or some such. Shame. Hope the evening's rest did him good.

I was first on (always good for me, as following Dave Jones is a killer!). Played six songs, including an encore (well the next guy had gone for a smoke) and got asked for a request ('Couldn't Get Arrested'), which I played. A request… that's a first!

Yesterday's set;

  • Sweet Carolina (Ryan Adams)
  • Somewhere Down The Road (Chuck Prophet)
  • Take Me Down to The Infirmary (Cracker)
  • Whiskey in My Whiskey (Felice Brothers)
  • Save It For A Rainy Day (Jayhawks)
  • Couldn't Get Arrested (Green on Red)

Couple more newbies turned up later on, who were both great.

Si supplied some nice beer including a new local one from Tyton Brewery and the famous Beartown 'Creme Bearlee'.

A good evening, as ever.
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YouTube - It's been a while

It's been quite a while since I've put a song up on YouTube (other than the Flushing Song, which I need to update) so before going out in search of a screen, with accompanying decent beer availability (via a hearty breakfast at the Shiraz), I've been strumming a couple of songs.

First up an oldie, which everyone tries early on when trying the guitar - 'The House of the Rising Sun'. It's one we played a bit at the Open Mic the other night.

HotRS2

Apologies if anyone is offended by my choice of top, but it is the Champion's League Final today and I'm off out after this. I've recorded another oldie (which is currently beyond my capability but you've got to push yourself, ain't you?) which will go up tomorrow, as it is currently 'Processing' whilst 'The Rising Sun uploads. Two for the price of one. Been a good morning strumming anyway. Here's hoping for a great evening too!

Come on you Mighty Reds.

YNWA
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Open, but No Mic

Yesterday was Open Mic day again. It comes along almost every fortnight doesn't it?

In the morning I was delivering in Penmaenmawr on the North Wales coast and was parked up opposite a music shop. It came to me that it was worth popping in to see if they had any guitar cases, as for a while I have been thinking about buying one in the event I got asked to bring in a guitar. I always just use one of the guitars provided by the Open Mic guys, but there is always a chance they may have an issue one day. One day I thought I may want to take my own guitar in any case (sic).

OpenMicDuo1

I actually had been looking online from that Amazon lot and have had one in my Shopping Basket for several weeks. But they are not that expensive and I thought that if the price in the shop was not extortionate in comparison I would rather give the money to a local shop than to the behemoth. As it happened the padded soft case was £17.50 which seemed reasonable, so I went for it.

OpenMic Duo1

So, last night for the first time I took my own guitar, which is a lovely old Takamine 363 Semi-acoustic. It is a beautiful piece of work, particularly the three piece back and the inlay, but it sounds good to. Well, it would if a) played by someone else and b) played with new strings… I have no idea how long the strings have been on, but it is years I think. Only when I was strumming there downstairs in the Sanctuary did it dawn on me that maybe I should have invested in some new ones. Of course, John just turned up with a newly strung guitar and the zingy difference was obvious. I'll be getting some new strings this weekend if I get the chance (amid the Champions League shenanigans).

BoboHair

It was a disappointing night in one sense, as the upstairs room including the PA, speakers and microphones were all in use. We'd been usurped! The regular few were sent down to the dungeon to play and were left with playing and singing unassisted by speakers. That said, it so happened that the week was much quieter than usual with only six guitarists. The lack of speakers meant that one of the regular poets didn't get the chance to get involved really. In the end we had a mix of singing songs on our own and teaching (or at least playing along with) each other. It was fun though. I even ended up singing Wonderful Tonight and There She Goes.

OpenMicDuo2

Hopefully Open Mic next time will be back upstairs and with the equipment e.g. with the Mic that goes with the Open thing.
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Open Mic & a Return to Ale Trips

It was Open Mic again yesterday in the Sanctuary and once again I made an appearance. We were shifted downstairs, as upstairs was occupied for some Light Night shenanigans, and just being in a different room makes it feel like a different 'gig'. In another effort to make it different I was not wearing a checked shirt for the first time here. In a shocking turn up I had one my 2012 Frank Turner Wembley T-Shirt.

OpenMicFTHC

Ollie was there again, so I made it up for my songs second again.

I ended up doing five songs:

  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn
  • Whiskey in My Whiskey
  • Down By the Water
  • The Flushing Song

The first two by Chuck Prophet, the third by Felice Brothers and the fourth by Decemberists… and the fifth… yep, that was the one I wrote last week. So I've performed a self penned song for the first time in over two decades (the last one was a similarly daft ditty: 'Stood Up, Deffed Out and Desperate' which I don't remember all the words or the chords for. It was a Saw Doctors style pastiche with some interesting lyrics). Anyway, The Flushing Song went down pretty well, and I was glad I gave it a go.

OpenMicCheersFTHC

Afterwards one of the regular attendees commented that she was becoming familiar with my songs, after not knowing them previously, and that she enjoyed them. That was nice to hear. My next task, other than practicing the damn guitar, is to try and write a song that's not just tongue in cheek. Then again a few Loudon Wainwright III style songs wouldn't be a bad destination either.

Onwards and upwards.

In other news, tomorrow I am going on my first CAMRA real ale trip for many months. I used to go on every Liverpool branch CAMRA coach trip, which are undertaken on a roughly monthly basis, but have stopped going as a stand against their move to booking through Eventbrite. That decision was frustrating as it disenfranchised so many of the regular trip goers - who maybe didn't want to start paying for things online (put it this way, I am part of the younger demographic on the trips). So tomorrow I am going on a trip to Buxton with the Wirral branch, who in any case pick up at the same place as the Liverpool branch (only difference is that it's 15 minutes earlier).

Looking forward to the trip. Buxton is a nice place and, as it happens, one of my favourite beers I've had this week was Buxton Brewery's SPA on cask in the Grapes.

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Flush The Floater

Started writing a daft song yesterday and this is it as it stands now - yes, it's up on YouTube already. Needs a bit of tidying, but okay for first writing in decades. Hope it comes across okay. If I finish it off properly, who knows, it may get a try out at the Open Mic sometime soon.



Save the planet, people. But don't stress to much about the floater — flush when you need to.
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This, That and The Other

Been making some edits to my story for the Don't Open the Door anthology, no spoilers but hell, of course they open the bloody door! Hoping to finish that off tomorrow and then give it a final brush on Sunday and get it to the editor. Should be a tighter story when I've finished it.

Had a bit of sad news that I didn't get selected for the Pulp Idol final. It was a bit of a shame, but, after the IT cock-up meant I never got the invite to the heats, I was expecting it anyway. I'd recorded a reading of the first three minutes of the first chapter and put that up on YouTube for a judgment to be made, not ideal but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Doesn't change anything about the novel, and once I've got the Door story sorted I will get back on to it and finish it. I want to know what happens in the end after all.

Considering some alterations to the website, with a new section or two. Should get at least one of the ideas up and running this week. Watch this space (or maybe the menu bar).

Talking of the website, of course tomorrow the weekend starts, so it's time for the Seedling Challenge. I've been religiously putting it up each week so that it's been there to be used by anyone who wants to, but I know I need to push it a bit more. So be prepared to be pushed - at least if you're exposed to Twitter in any way.

At some point I'm going to start writing some songs, now that I'm playing the guitar more regularly. I'm still surprised that the songs that I've been playing aren't known by the other guys at the open mic. But they are all of a type I suppose, and if I write in a similar style (or at least perform them that way) then there's every chance they won't know what's mine and what's someone else's. We'll see. If I start doing my own stuff then I can pop along to the Monday Night Club at the Cavern and play a tune or two (they only allow people playing their own stuff). Now that would be cool, wouldn't it?

Currently reading 'Crome Yellow' by Aldous Huxley, which I bought last week as part of a charity shop haul. I've only read Brave New World by Huxley before (which I loved), and this is so very different but enjoyable. It's my fifteenth read of the year, which puts me on track for the forty.

What with website updates, short stories and novel writing, reading, guitar practice and songwriting, it's a wonder there's time for anything else. Then there's football tomorrow night and Tuesday and then next Sunday (not to mention an important match on Monday night). Oh, God, and there's Line of Duty on Sunday. Clearly there's not enough hours in the day or days in the week. If any of the political parties yesterday could have promised to sort out the 'not enough hours' issue they'd have got my vote.

Anyways, ta-ra for now, I'm getting back to Crome.
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Whiskey in my Whiskey

Ollie turned up about 2 hours late (due to a job interview; poor excuse), which meant the normal opening act was not available. As the guy that normally comes on second it was therefore up to me to move down the list, which seemed fair enough. Whilst I'm still trying to get better an early relaxed little session is a a good thing.

Ended up playing five songs:

  • Somewhere Down the Road (Chuck Prophet)
  • Down by the Water (Decemberists)
  • Whiskey in my Whiskey (Felice Brothers)
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn (Chuck P)
  • Sweet Carolina (Ryan Adams)

Bobo came on next playing a couple of his bluesy tunes, followed by the newest father of the night: Dave Jones (congrats, new dad!).

Usual suspects followed including Matt Author with a new story.

Open Mic X

There were some off mic incidents involving a collapsing woman, and a birthday girl downing an impressive quantity of rum and coke. A couple of great singalongs; including my fave Queen song: 'Don't Stop Me Now'

Roll on the next Open Mic. Always great.

Open Mic XI

The highlight for me was two people independently coming to me and saying 'Great Set.' I mean, I have 'a set?' Let alone a good one. I've gotta be happy with that. And I am.

Thanks to Bobo and John for organising the night, and Dave tonight for the use of his guitar. And Bobo, once more, for the up-close-and-personal photos.


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Cocks and Nozzles, and a Busy Week

This week is going to be busy. Worked yesterday and my days off are today and Saturday, but in-between there's lots going on. I've got to do the edits of the 'Don't Open the Door' story for a start. On Wednesday there's the small matter of Barcelona vs Liverpool in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final (yes, it will always be the European Cup to me). On Thursday there's the next Open Mic. And next Saturday there's the next Liverpool match v Newcastle (at 7:45 in the evening… on a Saturday - what's that all about!?). Got to go and see my dad. And have personal things to do and plans to make.

Then there's other life shit to do, including installing a new ball cock! Not to mention work.

There really aren't enough hours in the day. No idea when I'll get to strum my guitar before Thursday. Maybe a short while today and tomorrow night. I haven't even watched ONE of the new Game of Thrones series yet, though I am up to date with the ever excellent Line of Duty and Follow the Money.

Anyways, first things first, my printer was acting up, I thought it was a problem with the cheap printer cartridge I'd bought, so I bought a better make. Turns out the issue was not the ink it was the damn nozzle on the printer. After cleaning that everything is ship-shape and working right. Just means I've wasted one ink cartridge - as the first one is sure to dry up whilst I use this next better one. Ho hum. Advice to everyone out there: make sure you do regular nozzle checks and do your head cleaning. Should go without saying that.

Now I can print out, I can get on with the editing. I really would struggle if I couldn't review the final piece on paper. I find it impossible to catch things on the screen. That said, an option would have been to keep putting the updated piece on my Kindle Paperwhite. But a) that's a bit clunky and b) comments seem to transfer into wrong locations (rather than disappear) when you save a new file in place of an old one - so not ideal. Anyways, it is moot, as I have ink and paper.

With Wednesday and Thursday being out of the picture for evening work I better get on with DOTD. Then I'll go and see my dad before getting this cock sorted.
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Another Whiskey Song

It's been a few weeks since I've played a new (or new old) song and with me being off today I thought I'd do one as part of my guitar playing practice. The last one I put up was 'Whiskey in my Whiskey' which I've done at the last couple of Open Mics along with 'Down by the Water'. So with all these liquid songs I decided to do another one and have gone for a slow slow version of the traditional Irish song 'Whiskey in the Jar.' It's no Thin Lizzy or Metallica version.

Anyway, I did it on the first take which is at least ten takes fewer than usual.

WhiskeyJar
Whiskey In the Jar
(apologies for the lack of a check shirt - confusing, I know)

My song list is expanding slower now. But if I can concentrate on them I can improve them. Think my singing is improving a little from its admittedly rather low base.

Current songs that I am playing and have put on YouTube are:

  • Whiskey In The Jar (trad. Irish)
  • Whiskey In My Whiskey (Felice Brothers)
  • Down By The Water (Decemberists)
  • Love Hurts (Gram Parsons and Emmylou)
  • My Heart Is Living In the Sixties Still (Saw Doctors)
  • Save It For A Rainy Day (Jayhawks)
  • Take Me Down To The Infirmary (Cracker)
  • N17 (Saw Doctors)
  • Shed A Tear (for the lonesome) (Green on Red)
  • Splendid Isolation (Warren Zevon)
  • You Couldn't Get Arrested (Green on Red)
  • Somewhere Down The Road (Chuck Prophet)
  • One I Love (REM)
  • Van Diemen's Land (U2)
  • Sweet Carolina (Ryan Adams)
  • Better Be Home Soon (Crowded House)
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn (Chuck Prophet)
  • Hotel California (Eagles)

Written out like that it looks like a whole setlist. Anyway, in a few months I'll start putting newer versions of the same songs which should show some progress. Bloody hope so anyway!

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A More Usual Open Mic

After the last Open Mic was quirkily small but perfectly formed, yesterday's returned to the more usual with the return of John, Dave, Oliver et al. It meant that there were six or seven guitar playing singers, along with Matt Author Dot Com, another couple of poets, and even some standup.

All in all another sound night- and the Oakham 'JHB' wasn't bad either.

Ended up playing five songs:

  • Somewhere Down the Road (Chuck P)
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn (Chuck)
  • Down by the Water (Decemberists)
  • Whiskey in my Whiskey (Felice Brothers)
  • Splendid Isolation (Warren)

No photos this time, but suffice to say if there was then it would have shown me wearing a checked shirt.

Oh and Bobo had a new guitar - a jingle jangle 12-string. Very nice indeed.
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A Quite Different Open Mic

Last Thursday I was at the bi-weekly Open Mic at the Sanctuary once again. Whilst I was on the way into Liverpool on the No.17 my phone rang and it was Bobo checking if I was coming. His message to me basically being 'It may well just be me and thee.' It was the first day of the Grand National meet and it was a crap, wet day. In addition a few regulars were either ill, away and/or not answering their phones.

IMG_20190405_023854_813

It turned out in the end that there were three of us who played guitar; Bobo, Kevin Zen and me. I ended up playing about seven songs or so including a couple of new ones out there live for me: 'Down By the Water' and 'Whiskey in my Whiskey'



Can't remember my set list completely but it included:

  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn
  • Down By the Water
  • Sweet Carolina
  • Whiskey In My Whiskey
  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • You Couldn't Get Arrested
  • One I Love



Even without Matt Author being there a couple of people did readings of stories and poems.

This galvanised me into action and I read three of my poems which I could access from my website after putting them up last week: S
chroedinger's Poem; Night Football and New Year Audit.

And then most audaciously read the
entire first chapter of my WIP: The Wobbly Odyssey. It seemed to go down quite well and definitely makes me think I WILL tidy it up a little and submit it for Pulp Idol.

All in all it was a quite different Open Mic night, but not poorer for it.
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Sodajerker.

I used to be a big user of podcasts but haven't been for a while due to technology issues (my iPod not talking with the Ford stereo for some reason). In recent weeks though I have returned to them using my phone (a Redmi6) and the PodBean app which the stereo seems to be happy with.

To that end I've returned to a few of my favourite Podcasts including:

  • 'A Good Read' (BBC4)
  • 'The Book Review' (New York Times)
  • 'Clarkesworld'
  • 'That Peter Crouch Podcast' and
  • Ok, and the Archers Omnibus (BBC4)

It's been great to get back to these, but best of all I've discovered a new one to me called 'Sodajerker... on Song Writing,' which comprises a couple of guys (local lads too - a happy coincidence) in interviews or, what feels more like relaxed conversation, with an enormous range of songwriters about their art and process. I've only listened to two so far - the recent one from Dido and an older one from Elvis Costello. They were both bloody excellent.

If all the others are half as good as these - and I've no reason to think they won't be - then I've found something wonderful and I am sure that anyone who is interested in music will find an episode (or 138) to enjoy. Yes, 138, it's been going since 2011. How the hell have I missed this for all that time? The thing that caught my eye whilst i was looking at Podbean in this instance was the name - as Soda Jerk is a song from one of my fave bands - the wonderful Buffalo Tom. So whilst I've found it by happy accident in some ways (because of the name), equally surely I could have spotted it exactly the same way earlier. Anyhoo, the main thing is I've found it now and I've got 136 episodes to plough through. Happy days!

Sodajerker1

Next up for me will be a couple more locals with the conversations with Paul McCartney and The Coral. There's also Adam Duritz, Mike Scott, Loudon Wainwright III and Paul Simon... like I say a wealth of material to go through.

So in case you haven't found them yet, and you don't know Buffalo Tom so miss my attraction to it, if you've got a musical bone in your body; just get on it, folks. You won't be disappointed. Click on the picture above to go to the website or look them up on iTunes or with your podcast app of choice.
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Love Hurts and Stuff

Set myself a target of 2k words this morning on a horror short and got there easily enough. Hope to get it finished by midweek. Probably be around 5k ultimately.

Next up was some guitar/singing practice. And I ended up recording two songs I've just taken on in the last week including 'Love Hurts' (Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris) which I sang at the Open Mic on Thursday. If you don't know the original then get on and find it. Not sure if my slightly sore throat helps or hinders.

LoveHurts1

Then I went on and played a more recent song from the wonderful Decemberists, 'Down By the Water' which I'd love to play along with 'This Is Why We Fight' ideally.

Anyways, all practice is useful.
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Heart Breaks and Blondes in the Sanctuary

Had an enjoyable night at the Sanctuary Open Mic last night. Much better to get on before Dave Jones rather than after the blues master. After only playing three songs last week I played five this time to get the average back up to four. As I've been playing more I've added a few more strings to my bow, even if they are all slightly wonky.

Heart Breaks G

In the end the songs I went for were:

  • Somewhere Down the Road (which seems to be my go to for getting me going at the mo)
  • Heart is Living in the Sixties Still (following Paddy's Day last week)
  • Take Me Down to the Infirmary
  • Love Hurts (an ambitious duet for one)
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn

It was good to see both Bobo and John, the Open Mic organisers, play this week - it's been a while.

A couple of regulars didn't turn up, which meant that the chilled night was even more chilled (and gave me time to not worry about playing five songs either). There were I think six singers and a poet and short story teller. Just need to cram in 10,000 hours of practice before the next one.

YorkshireBlonde

The Ossett 'Yorkshire Blonde' was bloody lovely last night too and I didn't even try anything else.

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Livin' in the Sixties

After writing the two pieces last week for NFFD writing has taken a bit of a backward step. I aim to get something done for the Seedling Challenge tomorrow morning. Had a late finish yesterday and will do again tomorrow - so hoping to do it in the morning.

At least I've managed to do some guitar practice. Played for over two hours on Saturday, which is the most in one go for years I reckon. Recorded a Saw Doctors number 'Heart is Livin' in the Sixties Still' on St Patrick's Day (Sunday).

Heart Is
Heart Is Living' in the Sixties Still

Actually did that on the first take. Okay, you could argue I should have tried a few more takes but I had the Fulham v Liverpool game to get out to watch, didn't I?

It's Open Mic this week and maybe this one will get a try out alongside my usual slow Americana.

Not sure what songs to go for, but probably four from:

  • Heart is Livin' in the Sixties Still
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn
  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • Couldn't Get Arrested
  • Sweet Carolina
  • Splendid Isolation

There's a couple of other possibilities, but we will see.

I've still got to get to grips with my TWO WIP. Especially if I'm to submit the first chapter for Pulp Idol. Arghhh! Not enough hours in the day or days in the week.
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Of Tyres and Strained Faces

It made sense to take today off with going to the beer festival last night, although with the relatively late arrival at the festival I didn't actually have that many to drink so would have been okay to drive today. That said I had two tyres which definitely needed changing lest I risk a fine and points (or a blow out etc) so I scheduled that today and have boxed that off.

Given me a bit of time to strum in any case so I started with a new song today - 'Save It For A Rainy Day' by the Jayhawks, from their wonderful album 'Rainy Day Music' - if you ain't listened to the Jayhawks then you're missing a treat. Timeless pop songs with beautiful harmonies. Get on it, people.

Harmonies? Well that'll have nothing to do with me then, but a quick strum later and I've put it up on YouTube. I think now that I have enough songs to be getting on with the next thing to do is to learn to play the buggers better. Which means strumming patterns and throwing in some different chords or - god forbid - some riffs... Eek!

sing1 sing3

In the meantime I should also work on gig faces. 'Cos my lord the current ones aren't fit for purpose.

sing4 sing2

My initial practice for 'Save It For A Rainy Day' is on the YouTube music blog thing or whatever that thing is. Hopefully in a few months I'll be playing all these songs better in increments. Practice practice. Not sure I can do much about the face though.
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Missing Mike

It's Open Mic tomorrow in the Sanctuary Bar and this will be the first one I've missed since discovering it and my new found love for all things singer songery.

It's a mate's birthday celebration which means I is going to be at the Liverpool Beer Festival in the wonderful Lutyen's Crypt of the Roman Catholic cathedral. As excuses go for not attending to the Open Mic it's not a bad one.

Take Me Down
Realising I'd had five attempts at recording the song without the mic working.

Notwithstanding my night off from the Sanctuary I'm still looking at expanding my range of songs available to play at future events. After last week going back to an old one I used to play previously with the Smithdown gang (the Saw Doctor's "N17") I've gone to a song from a similar time. I'm not sure we played it back then, certainly we probably did when messing about in Kev's front room, but I'm not sure it ever got released into the wild. It's another one of my favourite bands that I could never understand weren't successful in the mainstream (like Green on Red and Chuck Prophet): Cracker. If you can get your hands on a CD or find them on Spotify do it. Loads of great stuff.

Anyway I chose another slow downbeat one (cos that's what I do) called 'Take Me Down to the Infirmary' from the album Kerosene Hat. I may do the title track at some point but the vocals are hard to get right - probably another capo song.

I recorded about five versions of me playing it before playing it back and finding the mic wasn't working. Not sure whether it wasn't plugged in right or what. Bit odd - as I would have thought if it wasn't plugged in then the laptop's mic would have kicked in in its stead. So I put the USB mic back in and gave it one more go. And that, my friends, is now up on the YouTube thing along with my other meandering practices.

At this rate by the time I've practiced all my current repertoire I'm gonna have a difficult choice to make at the future Open Mics. Which is a good thing, of course.

YouTube

It astounds me that I have 5 Subscribers. Thank you whoever you are. Wonder how long it will be until I start writing and playing my own songs... Not imminent, but then again maybe over the next few months.


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Long Forgotten Songs

After achieving my aim of writing more than one thousand words today I treated myself to playing some guitar - if that is a treat. And I looked at playing something I haven't played since back in the 1990s: 'N17' by Saw Doctors. I strummed it a few times then tried to record it with iMovie using the Snowball mic to practice using both - I'm not used at all to this iMovie yet. This time I put the mic in the mic stand though it is just loosely held as opposed to screwed in as the old stand doesn't have a screw fit. May have to consider buying a swing arm for the mic. But hell, I'll leave that for today. In the meantime I put N17 up on to that there YouTube channel.

Finding the lyrics in my old music file led me to looking back at our old 'posters' and set lists for gigs we ('Smithdown') did in 1993 and 1994. The main thing it illustrates is how much computing has changed since that time - can't even recall what word processor we were using back then (I think Wordstar 6 or maybe 7?). The other thing is how many songs we bloody played - over twenty. I suppose we did actually practice back then. I'm only just getting back up to double figures now #musttryharder

These are the posters for two gigs - one at Kitty O'Shea's (RIP) 'Don't go on Saturday, GO ON TUESDAY!' in August 1993 and the other at the Liverpool Irish Centre (also sadly RIP) at Christmas 1994, where we got the 'The Hooleys' to play - and ended with the 'Terry Tuppence' disco. I've not got the set list for the 1994 xmas gig but I've got the set lists for the Kitty's gig and the 1993 Xmas gig at the British Legion, Mossley Hill.

Kittys Poster

Set List 170893

xmas93 poster

Set List 101293

Maybe I should go back to some of these songs to up my current repertoire back up towards twenty a bit quicker than I have been. I could definitely feel a rendition of 'I Useta Lover' (or the infamous 'Stood Up, Deffed Out and Desperate') would go down well at the open mic; currently the only songs from these sets that I have played at the open mic are 'One I Love' and 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn'.

That said, I think there's only a few of these I would want to (re) add to my repertoire - probably '110 in the Shade' (yet another Chuck Prophet), 'One' (U2), 'Fisherman's Blues' (Waterboys) and maybe 'Sweet Child of Mine' (Guns and Roses). Let's see...

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Of Mics and Men

Open Mic at the Sanctuary last night actually had a mic and multiple guitars. Huzzah! There were multiple singers as well as poetry and short story readings. Excellent, as ever. Not sure why but all the open mic'ers are men. Come on ladies, bring your plectrums.

I didn't play Shed a Tear, which I was working on this week, in the end I went for my current favourites:

  • You Couldn't Get Arrested
  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • Sweet Carolina, and
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn

I sing most each song with my eyes closed. Don't know why or how I stop that - or even whether I should. That said a brief video has emerged on Instagram showing that maybe they're not quite as closed as I thought they were... click on the photo.

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Couple of mates turned up, including one who doesn't have a musical bone. Not sure he'll be back often unless it's just for the beer (didn't like the stories or poetry either). It takes all sorts to make a world.

I was made 'spare' on Friday so at least it meant I could have a couple of drinks. Unfortunately there weren't extended drinks in the bar so had to settle for one in the Fall Well (Wetherspoon) here I had a lovely Peerless Oatmeal Stout whilst I waited for the bus (not even the last bus).

Plans re the guitar playing include in order: work on strumming patterns; write some songs! Then maybe get into scales and riffs. Strumming and songs very much first though.

In other news I have a beta reader of my first six chapters of the 'book' I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November and it's getting to the point where I should get on with writing the rest of it. I reckon it should be another 30-40k words. If I did 50k in one month then I should be able to do that in a month too should I? It's all about motivation and getting in the groove again with it. Having not touched it since getting to the 50k at the end of NaNo I need to finish reading where I'm up to and get writing.

I'll give myself six weeks (I have the guitar to work with too - which I wasn't playing until the second part of November). So watch this space. Could I finish my first whole book?
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Mo Music

A day that should leave me feeling a bit more relaxed one way or another, but we'll see.

Updated my mate's business website. Nice to get that boxed off in quick time. In other news I managed to get around an hour or so playing the guitar which was nice. I've got a bit of a sore back at the moment - I think a trapped nerve - which has left me a bit pins and needled on my fretting hand which isn't ideal. Recorded 'Shed a Tear (for the lonesome)' using the Blue 'Snowball' microphone and iMovie. The movie is a bit dark and freckly as it was getting dark out and I was only using the computer's iSight camera. At some point I'll see if I can attach or use my Lumix instead - would be better for image quality and flexible recording.

Yesterday I received a Twitter message from
Getintothis to tell me I'd won a couple of tickets for a gig tonight at Sound on Duke Street. There's three or four bands on with the headline act being 'Allusinlove'. Looks like it may be fun. More music and on another school night. Unfortunately most the usual suspects I'd go with aren't available tonight so looks like I may be there on me lonesome - awww!

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Suppose I better get ready for popping out for some tunes then.
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iMovie

After getting the new microphone for the computer it made me consider the software I've been using. I haven't really be looking at that which is daft. The little practice vids I've put up on YouTube were recorded using PhotoBooth, which is one of the bundled pieces of software with the Mac and then I've edited it using iMovie to get the clip length right, flip the view and add appropriate titles.

As it is I've looked into the recording now and it seems at the very least I should be recording it straight into iMovie rather than using PhotoBooth. The picture quality would be better - not sure about the audio (haven't found a reference to that yet). To that end the version of the software on my 9 year old MacBook Pro is 9 years old itself (iMovie 9). Found that iMovie 10.1.10 was issued in November 2018 AND importantly is FREE; which is always a nice price point.
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Downloaded and installed the new software. The key thing will be how stable the software is on my computer. If it is then it could be a winner. It has already automatically updated all the previous videos I'd recorded with the old software. Proper Mac. Easy.

Though let's see if I've spoken too soon...
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Snowball's Chance

Ordered a Snowball ICE USB mic from Amazon today. It's currently reduced by £12.50 off at £42.50, which I think is probably a mighty fine bargain. One of the organisers of the Sanctuary Open Mic (Bobo from the Vapery, Waterloo) had put on Instagram that he'd ordered it and I couldn't not jump on that bandwagon. I think that the reduction is because they are about to release a new mic. But if this one does the job, well then it's worth dipping in.

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Should get it in a few days and by the weekend I hope to be giving it a try out to see what the difference is from the MacBookPro's internal mic. I assume it will be significantly better and prove well worth the money. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon from over 335 reviews, which is pretty good for tech. The specification and the reviews certainly look positive.

Will do some recording of both guitar/singing and narrative and see what it comes out like. Will report back on here. So if any of you out there are considering podcasting or recording (or just Skyping) then I'll let you know what it's like.
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Glastonbury - Photos

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I've said I'd write a memoirs piece on Glastonbury festivals after the Twitter vote last week so I've been digging through some of my photos from them. I've been lucky enough to go five times in 2007-10 and 2015. For some reason I don't seem to have any photos from 2010 but hey. Haven't decided where to start with the writing yet. But in the meantime here are some photos showing the usual; bizarre parades, mud, beer, the Bimble Inn, the Park Stage and bands including Broken Family Band, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Frank Turner, Neil Young.

I'll come up with something. But whatever I write it'll never be good enough to say how special and different the event is.

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Glastonburys

Last week I ran a vote for the subject of my next memoir piece where I pitted some of my experiences in the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation versus music festivals and the winner was... 'Glastonburys.' Who needs world travel when you can just pop down to Somerset? Huzzah!

Glasto Vote

Well, I say huzzah! But it's going to be a tough one to write and keep in decent bounds - I've kind of kept the maximum word count at around 2000. Keeping to that with the bands and experiences I've had there will be a test. First thing is to decide what to focus on, because it can't be the music per se, for where would you stop? It's got to be the experiences. My first one was a lovely bewildering episode, the next few were different with the bigger group of people and the last one - when I won two tickets and took a mate - was lovely. However I end up writing it I hope to get it written and up on the site in the next ten days. It's going to be a fun journey.

Ash Gully1

In the meantime why not read one of my older pieces, like the Raul vs the Volcano: the El Chichon episode.

Andy and the Volcano1


Back at the Dodge1

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Open Mic #5

On Thursday I went to my fifth Open Mic at the Sanctuary, was a top night. Initially it looked like the numbers may be a bit down but in the end there were more than usual including a couple of excellent newbies who spotted the Open Mic as they were passing the pub. I think they'd gone somewhere else first and found an open mic was not on, so it was fortuitous for them - and us.

As ever there were plenty of guitarist singers and in addition there was poetry and short stories.

Guitar Blur Sanctuary300

I did four songs and as ever nobody else knew three of them. It may well be the way to continue - if they don't know it they don't know when you're singing it wrong. The songs I did were:

  • 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' - Green on Red
  • 'Somewhere Down the Road' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'Hotel California' - Eagles

I'll let you guess which ones the viewing public knew... Put it this way I'm spreading the Chuck Prophet/Green on Red gospel.

Here are some photos from the night (I didn't bother with the interruption from the drunk speed fuelled guy).

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Not sure if I'm going to do new ones next time or just try and get better with the ones I've been doing to date first. Strive to get better!

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Flipping Heck

After uploading a song yesterday, where I'd flipped it to the correct orientation, I've had to re-upload all the older songs after flipping them the right way round too. A bit painful, and it means I've lost all my 'views' and 'likes' and all that but hell that doesn't matter.

It also means all my old links from earlier blog updates are wrong too, which is a shame.
Heart Breaks

Anyway, they're all sorted now so my T-shirts will read correctly in English - and I'm no longer looking left handed.


And I've put them all into a playlist '
Andy's Acoustic Practicing.'

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Updating the Website

Beginning to update the website. Starting to make it look a little cleaner by removing the colours, thick lines and rounded edges on the boxes to begin with. I need to sort out the header to make it smaller (need to look that up as to best way of doing that and keeping it consistent) in the meantime I've just made the header plain colour rather the distracting backgrounds I had before. In actuality that will mean the different appearance will be least evident on the blog.

I've moved the Memoirs pages beneath a general heading for 'Writings' as I intend to put up some small fictions and none fictions under here at some point, possibly starting with old flash from sites like Angry Hourglass and Flash Fiction Friday and the like, but ultimately to include new writing too. I'll see about that over the next few weeks but in the meantime I need to decide on my immediate goals for writing in the coming weeks, months and indeed years.

Just done another Chuck Prophet song 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn', probably a few bpm too slow but hell it'll do for now. I've also flipped the video so the words read right on my t-shirt. But of course that now means all my other videos have me mirror reversed. Oops. More editing work required at some point.

Heart Breaks
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Not So Sweet Carolina

Uploaded yet another song on to YouTube: 'Sweet Carolina' by Ryan Adams. That's eight songs now, eek! One of the songs (along with One I Love, Van Diemen's Land and Splendid Isolation) that I can currently play without requiring the words there - at least as comfort for me. Current song list up there comprises:

  • Sweet Carolina (Ryan Adams)
  • Hotel California (Eagles)
  • Somewhere Down the Road (Chuck Prophet)
  • Couldn't Get Arrested (Green On Red)
  • Splendid Isolation (Warren Zevon)
  • Van Diemen's Land (U2)
  • One I Love (REM)
  • Better Be Home Soon (Crowded House)

Sweet Carolina
'Sweet Carolina'

I need to choose another song to learn this week. Will have a wee think about that tomorrow. Will also be re-doing 'Better Be Home Soon' as the version up there is absolutely pants at the moment.

Have kept the original poorer Hotel California up there for now - just for the comedy value and Football Focus moment. ;-)



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Practice Practice

Don't know how many times I've played Hotel California over the last couple of days. But I'm getting better at it - which I suppose is the point of practice.

So here's a link to it.... IT.

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Currently considering what songs to learn in the new year. Anyway, now I'm off out for a couple of beers to bring in the new year. Should do a couple more blogs tomorrow. In the meantime though...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



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CHEERS!
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Check Out Any Time You Like

Had a wee bit of a strum today playing Hotel California - such a fab song. When I played with a few mates back in the 1990s one of them had written out the lyrics for it, but we never got around to playing it. It predated Google and all that and I realised today that he'd got a few words wrong, which is quite off-putting when you're playing along. Anyway, got them sorted now. Shows how long it is since I've been into playing; handwritten lyrics as (mis)heard from the LP?

Decided to record my playing it. A minute and a half into it though I noticed Footy Focus was starting so had to pause the TV (I wasn't going to miss it with Liverpool being top of the league). It was quite funny so I've left it in the vid anyway. The end of the song is a bit nothing. But I'll re-record it at some point. The question now is whether I'll learn the song and play it at one of the Open Mics in 2019?

Anyway, should you like a laugh then my strum is here....

I do like the Eagles. I was lucky enough to see them in Moscow back in 2001 or so. Funnily enough they played their gig in two sets and opened the second set with Hotel California. Russians being Russians most of them missed it as they were beneath the stands still drinking. The gig ended with the Russian audience chanting 'Cal-if-forn-I-A, Cal-if-forn-I-A...'. They were gutted when they didn't come out to play it again. Still makes me laugh now.

I am currently reading 'VOX' by Christina Dalcher. Nice easy read and over half way through now so should finish it before New Year, which will mean I'll have read 34 books this year (according to my GoodReads records). A bit down on last year, but it is what it is. Need to make some plans for my reading next year and more importantly my writing. It's been a mixed year for writing for me. I got published just the once which is the least I've been published since I first was back in 2014. That said I was made up with this publication, with it being the third of the Infernal Clock anthologies: 'Deadcades'. I've been lucky enough to had stories in all three of them and they are all excellent, this year's though seems a cut above. Unless we're going to get to a situation where Infernal Clock get to Part 5 of a Trilogy, in a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy style, then I'm going to have to find some suitable places to submit stories for. And this must form a decent part of my planning. I've still got to find a home for the original story I wrote for the Infernal Clock: Calendark too.

The other positive was finishing NaNoWriMo for the second time. It was a bit chaotic this time, but I think I've learnt a lot from that which makes it worthwhile in itself. I need to go on and finish that in 2019 and then edit, re-edit etc if I think it is worth it. At the same time I've got to consider whether to finish and rewrite the NaNo from 2017.

As you can see I have some planning to do. Now I've finished strumming for the day - and writing a quick blog - then it IS planning time. Well as much as I can before watching the Liverpool v Arsenal game with a couple of mates and some ales.

No doubt will report back on here with writing and reading plans. It's kinda what the blog is for really.
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Last Class Song Of The Day

This evening I've scheduled in the last of what I'll call the 'official' Class Song of the Day songs. I've been doing this since April of last year and have only accidentally missed a couple of days in that time. As said previously though it does take a little time and I have put pressure on myself to keep it going. Now that I've decided to finish it of as of December 31st then I won't have the time pressure to keep up with it.

FT1 DavidBowie Counting Crows1

That's not to say I won't tweet out songs from now on. It just means if I don't I won't feel I've messed it up if I miss a day, or a week, or if I repeat any songs. In fact I've actually carried on and buffered songs a week into the new year. And I now don't care that a few of these are repeats of earlier songs I've tweets out links to. Ha! Who cares? Not me. I've not added the hashtag #ClassSongOfTheDay to the songs for next year. The hashtag may or may not remain dormant. We shall see.

Anyways carry on loving music. Because there aren't many legal things much better than music out there.

Cracker Ryan Adams Bullet Warren Zevon
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Final Open Mic of the Year

Yesterday I went to my fourth Open Mic event at the Sanctuary Bar, Liverpool. It was the final one of the year.

There was a decent turnout and it was very enjoyable. There were six or seven guitarists performing as well as a fab poet and an author reading a couple of his stories out.

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There were a couple of teething issues with a dodgy connection between the guitar and the PA and a severely struggling mic stand which was taped up and unadjustable. This meant I was a wee bit hunched up to get down to the hobbit level of the mic. I trust that at Xmas the Open Mic team will get a new mic stand. Er if they've been good.

I did a couple of songs I haven't performed before: 'Somewhere Down the Road' by Chuck Prophet and 'Couldn't Get Arrested' by Green on Red. In addition I did 'Better Be Home Soon' (Crowded House) and 'Van Diemen's Land' (U2).

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Getting more relaxed playing which can only be a good thing.

New year I hope to start writing my own songs.

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I've uploaded a few of my practices of these songs on my YouTube Channel so I'll be able to chart my hopeful improvement as I get back into playing again.

Thanks must go to the Sanctuary Bar and the organisers of the Open Mic. It's a cool relaxed event and I'm glad to have found it. Roll on 2019.
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Last Eight Days

With Elton John being my last artist getting a whole week for himself on #ClassSongOfTheDay this week,I've gone and picked my artists for the last eight days of the year, but not the songs - incidentally it was supposed to be the week for Pixies then Lykke Li. The artists I have gone for are:

  • Decemberists
  • Jayhawks
  • Neil Young
  • Teenage Fanclub
  • Chuck Prophet
  • Warren Zevon
  • Ryan Adams
  • Frank Turner

Unsurprisingly it has come out largely as Americana and singer songwriters. A difficult pick with Bright Eyes, John Hiatt, Blue Aeroplanes, Felice Brothers, Thea Glimore, Adele and Iron & Wine all waiting in the wings.
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More Strumming

It's been good to get back to strumming the guitar again. I've had too many months and years not playing the thing. It's just been sat there. I should have continued with it. Anyway, I've found it again and I'm loving getting back to it. Looking at what I used to play back in the 1990s I've evidently forgotten a hell of a lot.

The main thing I need to work on in the short term is sorting some decent strumming out. I'm posting some of my practicing on YouTube hoping that it will serve to act as a baseline for me to move away from.

I've played three Open Mics in the last six weeks or so and aim to get to four shortly and next time I'm going to play some different songs as I am trying to expand my repertoire. I'm minded to give
'Somewhere Down The Road' by Chuck Prophet and 'Couldn't Get Arrested' by Green on Red a go. I can always throw in a couple that I have done previously. I've never played these before in public. So will be nice to see the song options improve if not the quality of my playing... yet.

I've put me wee attempt at
Somewhere Down the Road up. A class song, if not the way I play it ;-)

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Once I can play better maybe I should do something about the sound and lighting and maybe I'll get some dancing troupe to distract any accidental viewers.
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TV and Time Creation

So I fixed my TV earlier in the week by disconnecting the buttons that work it (yeah, who'd have thunk it?) and what did I do last night? I only went and watched the Strictly Final and Michael Bloody McIntyre. I mean WTF!? If ever there was evidence that my remote control wasn't working that would normally be it. But no, I saw through most of the former and all of the latter with only two bottles of Wild Bill's IPA from Aldi to keep me company: Living the Dream on a Saturday night. To be fair I did actually quite enjoy them - but, in my defence, I was also quite knackered. With respect to the winner, I do like Stacey Dooley for what she does on the telly box, but I thought (assuming we weren't basing it purely on actual dancing - when clearly the American Pussycat should have won) then Faye deserved it. Anyway, congrats to Grimsby and all that.

I then went all dark and watched the latest two episodes of
Sinner (Season 1) on BBC4. An interesting crime in a fucked up little American town with a fucked up police detective investigating the crime. It's hard to think of any detectives on the box that aren't at least a wee bitted messed up in one way or another. I assume at detective interviews if you claim you have a calm and stable life with no messy backstory, or a closet full of weird shit, you don't get to the second round of interviews. In this one he's got a messed up marriage and spends most his none investigating time getting beaten up by an ex (who he now pays to do it) in a severe masochistic relationship. Still, I'm sure he'll uncover the crime and all the baddies in the end; as long as he doesn't get accidentally suffocated first in a bizarre sexual encounter. Now that's an ending... and all the criminals lived happily ever after in the ultimate sliding doors moment.

In other news, I announced I'd probably stop
Class Song of the Day at the end of this year (frighteningly just 15 days away) and one of my (okay probably my only) regular clicker and listener has said 'I won't miss it...'. Now that is a damning indictment if ever I've read one. I suppose if not doing it gives me another 26 hours a year to do something and it does for others too, then I have magically created at least 6 working days of time out of nothing. So sometimes stopping something can be a job well done then. Huzzah!

Talking of time creation... watching that much TV in a night can't be a good thing. But I was tuckered out and moving not a jot was the way to go. Won't be watching too much TV today other than the Liverpool v Man Utd match (and if we win MOTD).
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Class Song of the Day

In April last year I came up with the idea of Class Song of the Day, where I would post on Twitter each day a song I rather liked - in theory for others to listen to too. And I've been doing that ever since.

Partly it was to avoid a habit of not posting a song for ages then inundating my poor Twitter followers with loads of songs and bands in a flurry of some Friday evening or other. Such Tweet barrages are hard to stomach when you receive them. As often as not you'd ignore a sudden influx from one source - well I do at any rate. So a regular timed, once a day effort, kinda made sense.

Anyway I am of a mind to end it now at the end of this year. I've not run out of bands or songs and whilst it doesn't take that much time its regularity is something that requires me to keep on top of once a week or so with respect to the website and a maximum of once every ten days to put the Tweets into Buffer. In truth it probably takes about half an hour a week or so. But ultimately whilst I've enjoyed curating this music - whether it is to people who haven't heard it before or have (or reintroducing the music to me) - there are not many people listening to it and it won't really be missed. Maybe it is only half an hour, but I could use that half an hour for writing a blog or even - god forbid - stories. Or maybe applying for jobs. Or baking cakes.

Well, not the latter.

Half an hour a week is 26 hours a year - or three working days - to do writing (or baking or eating cake).

At the end of the day (or week) I've only got my No.1 music follower Sal as a regular visitor and clicker who may miss it. Maybe I'll just DM some band names or links to her instead. ;-)


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CSOTD2

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All the November excitement of VSS365 and NaNo has to some extent passed. It seems an age ago (er it is 4 days since my stint at the helm of VSS365 came to an end). But my other scheduled daily Tweet is still very much alive, that is: Class Song Of The Day. This evening I've updated the CSOTD (Year 2) webpage and the next ten days of songs are Buffered.

This weeks songs are from the living folk legend that is Steve Earle. Enjoy.

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Can't believe there are only three artists to come after him before Christmas. The year, the year is disappearing right down the plug hole. That said I've got the next six artists lined up as far as the end of January. Should be a breeze to get the full Year 2 sorted. Not sure what/if I'll continue into Year 3 with if. We shall see when we get there in the middle of April.

Since April I've been selecting an artist that I like, putting them up for the week and choosing a song each day for them. It's been a cracking group of artists. Let's face it if I was a DJ it'd be bloody great - I'd like it anyway.

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The CSOTD Tweet get's sent out each morning at 8am (UK).
#ClassSongOfTheDay
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Open Mic 2

Yesterday I went to play a few songs at the Open Mic in the Sanctuary Bar on Lime Street. It was the second time after playing three songs there a couple of weeks ago. Last time there were fewer people in attendance which made it easier to play after I'd heard a couple of people playing. This time there were more singer guitarists I'm not sure if I hadn't played the other week whether I would have got up in front of them.

I was second up and played three songs: Van Diemen's Land, the One I Love and Better Be Home Soon. Struggled a bit with the One I Love which is daft, because its the easiest one to play - or at least the one I've played the most. I think the nerves of like playing probably made me play it too quickly. Still I managed to force myself into the high notes and then did the Crowded House number. It's the first time I've played that in front of anyone and it wasn't too bad.

Following me on to the mic was Dave Glyn Jones, who I've never seen before and bloody hell he was good. If he'd come on before me there is no way I would have gone up and played. Very very accomplished. Great guitar and a gravelly blues voice and funny with it. Damn talented. The next two came up, who I didn't catch the names of, and they were great too. It was an enjoyable night and my mate who had never seen me play before had come along. Surprisingly he really enjoyed the night as he's not really into bands that much, but he found it all excellent (especially Dave).

Dave spoke to me afterwards and kindly told me not to be so self deprecating up there and that I had a nice voice (?) and good musical taste. I'll take that. Just need to play the guitar a lot more often and learn some new tunes. I know if I keep at it and keep throwing myself in front of an audience I should get more confidence and with that get better at the whole thing. It's been a nice distraction to start doing this and I'm looking forward to seeing where it will go.
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Keeping Up With The Class

Have had an hour or so updating the Class Song Of The Day song list and now have the next 33 songs all selected and raring to go. In addition the bands and singers are all lined up as far as the new year. The next bloody year, people! 2019, my word.

So I now know that there will be songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s - and even THIS century. Incredible.

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The CSOTD page is looking mighty fine already, but will look even better once the next ten bands are up there too.

I've spotted a few gaps so have some bands ready for next year. Like I say, bloody hell.
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Class Songing and Scheduling

Have updated the website with this week's song links for the wonderful John Hiatt. Only seen him once live, down in that there London far too many moons ago. Would like to see him some more.

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And I found that second Twitter scheduling site. I use Buffer for Class Song of the Day and for free you can only schedule a maximum of 10 Tweets; with me needing to schedule 30 Tweets for VSS365 next month I needed to find a second site to do the scheduling - or else I'd have to log in and just do five of each (ie every five days). With going for NaNo this year every bit of time saving and general assistance is a god send. Trying out a little used one. Will see how it does, I won't name and shame it until I know if it works properly and if it does I will sing its praises of course (maybe it'll come in handy for someone else). I've scheduled the first ten words already. So watch Twitter at 06.30am on November 1st to see if it works - and maybe give it a whirl.

VSS365
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Class Song Of The Day

Class Song of the Day has been moving amazingly smoothly from one week to another in Year 2. Since Dylan and the Stones in July I've continued with a mix of big bands and a few lesser known ones and a few singer songwriters, namely;

  • Broken Family Band
  • REM
  • U2
  • Neil Young
  • Bright Eyes
  • Iron & Wine
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Queen
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Cracker
  • David Bowie

I've got the weekly bands lined up now as far as Christmas. Yes, that bloody holiday thing. There is apparently an almost never ending supply of my favourite bands. Of course next year that may well be tested, if I continue into year 3.

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Continuing CSOTD2

Class Song of the Day has continued unabated - it's a good job I like a lot of bands. With the latest being the wonderful Canadian band Barenaked Ladies who consistently record fab albums and are great live - although I last saw them many moons ago when they played in the Royal Court, Liverpool (so I guess that would be mid-1990s!).

Of all the bands and singers I've had so far in Year 2 there are only the Beatles and Warren Zevon who I haven't/can't seen live (although I did see Paul McCartney when he played Anfield in 2008).

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The bands coming over the coming months will include a lot more bands that I haven't seen because I can't be everywhere or every-when.

It's my birthday week next week and whilst the No.1 when I was born was the Beatles 'Hey Jude' I won't be having the Beatles again next week, but I do have it all set up with one of my favourite bands from when I was a youngster. But that's next week and you'll have to wait to see who they are. In the meantime enjoy the songs from the Barenaked Ladies and all the other bands above with links on the CSOTD2 page.
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Return to the Guitar

Yesterday I sat down to think about getting back to playing the guitar. I've two in the house; a lovely green telecaster and a semi-acoustic Takamine. Can't even remember when I last played the electric but from time to time I pick up the Takamine for a quick strum. The thing is I've forgotten so many songs that I used to be able to play and have lost the ability to play most of the riffs I used to know a bit. So I've decided to get a bit more methodical and timetable some specific guitar practice. To learn (or relearn) a bunch of songs I used to play (at least after a fashion).

Ideally I want to get to a point where I can face playing in front of someone again. In fact maybe play at an Open Mic or two. The Sanctuary pub in Liverpool being one possibility. So I need to learn a few songs from start to finish, words and chords, with appropriate strumming patterns and all that malarky.

To that end my initial aim is to learn again twelve songs, which is kinda an album length of tunes. Then from there go on to twenty four and thirty; then who knows?

Should I get into playing again then I'd like to write a few songs once again. It's been a long time since I have done that. Then that opens up the possibility of playing my own stuff at an open mic too. That maybe for next year, but learning the first of the 'twelve' should be a lot easier in theory so who knows I may end up at an open mic sometime over the next two or three months.

I've got four to six I should be able to box off relatively quickly, say over next couple of weeks. Then if I aim to learn a couple of songs a week thereafter then maybe I can box of twelve songs in five weeks or so.

First up I'm going to create a playlist of all 30 songs to practice the words and feel of them. Then I'll print off the words and chord sheets for them all and have a nice neat file (that said I probably have half of them at least already printed out in one file or other). Then, lastly, I need to get my guitar ready and begin playing the thing again. Regularly.

So in five weeks will I have twelve songs I can feel confident enough to stand up (or sit down) and play from start to finish? We'll see.

Watch this space.
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Dirty Ole Tunes

So far this week has been very poor for writing. Hoping to get an hour or two done this weekend - at some point.

Finished reading Neil Gaiman's 'Fragile Things' which of course was excellent - and makes you realise how good short stories CAN be. Now I need to get more practiced at it. Pen to paper, mate.

Been an odd week with a few things. But whilst writing and reading has been a bit limited I have at least managed to update the website a little, especially getting Class Song of The Day up to date. So far Year 2 has been a breeze. As well as 'Buffering' the next ten songs I've selected the following 32. I'm keeping up with keeping up.

This weeks songs have been from The Pogues. Let's face it, who doesn't like them? An easy job for me then. Now get yerself drunk crooning, no need to remember the words just grunt along folks.

Pogues

Next week is one of my fave singer songwriters and underrated guitarist... but I won't spoil the surprise. You'll have to wait until Monday for #ClassSongOfTheDay on Twitter
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Frank Turner Week #1

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: FRANK TURNER WEEK

'
They've started raising walls around the world now
Like hackles raised upon a cornered cat
On the borders, in our heads
Between things that can and can't be said
We've stopped talking to each other
And there's something wrong with that

So before you go out searching
Don't decide what you will find
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind
'

Lyrics: 'Be More Kind'

So after the glorious harmonies of the Jayhawks along came one of my favourite singer songwriters (and I mean of all time even though he's only a young pup right now) the wonderful Frank Turner. He is a prolific writer and performer and the quality doesn't seem to be a problem. He keeps track of all his gigs and currently as I write this he's up to gig #2183 (in Baltimore). I've been lucky enough to seem him at five of those gigs and they were all boss (Bath, Liverpool, Glastonbury (Secret gig) and Glastonbury (Second Stage)).

FrankTurner

That's four not five. Well yeah. The first time I saw him was incredibly at Wembley Arena on April 13, 2012. I'd gone down to watch the Liverpool v Everton semi-final at Wembley and found that the night before Frank was playing the Arena. A very lucky accident. It's hard to get over how bizarre this gig was in some ways. I mean a folk(ish) guy without big record company backing and not that well known filling out Wembley Arena through little more than word of mouth. It was a fabulous gig. A massive singalong from start to finish. Support was great too with Beans on Toast, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Billy Bragg. I was lucky to keep some of my voice for the following day (when Liverpool of course beat Everton).

The seven songs I chose were:

  • Glory Hallelujah!
  • Plain Sailing Weather
  • I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
  • Get Better
  • Long Live the Queen
  • Reasons Not to Be An Idiot
  • Mittens

Click on the pic to go to the Class Song of the Day (Year Two) and check them out. He's so prolific and great that I'll be having a second Frank week later in the year.

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls are a brilliant live act. If you get a chance to see them don't think twice.

This week's songs will be from The Pogues.
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Sunday Morning

Today's plan is based around my normal 'Ideal Day' type:

  • Coffee
  • Read a bit
  • Write a bit
  • A couple of ales

We'll see how I go.

After waking up early I got to the bit coffee early doors. Eventually I prised myself away from Twitter to get a whole hour (whoopee-do) of reading. Currently reading Neil Gaiman's 'Fragile Things' (a short story collection). I am still behind in my reading this year, but getting some done. Onward and upward.

Next up was looking at updating some Class Song of The Day stuff. Selected another couple of artists and sorted the picture for next weeks band, which I'll upload onto the 'CSOTD: Year 2' page shortly. It's a band I was well into back in the 1990s and have seen in a few places - whatever the venue invariably there was chaos with this lot.

Next up there was this little blog update. It's important to keep it a little bit alive, isn't it?

Following this the remaining plan is a wee bit of writing. Maybe 1000 words? Got a competition piece to consider as well as getting back onto the Infernal Clock story. I've also got to finish of the Turkmenistan memoirs piece for the Memoirs section (it's been half finished now for an age) and also type up 'The Origin of the Carbonatite Magma'. But that's not for today.

After completing some writing I'll be rewarding myself with a pint and meeting a mate in Liverpool centre.

I'll report back how the writing, and the imbibing, goes. Laters ...

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Jayhawks Week

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: JAYHAWKS WEEK

'Pretty little hairdo, don't do what it used to
Can't disguise the living
All the miles that you've been through

Looking like a train wreck,
Wearing too much make-up,
The burden that you carry
Is more than one soul could ever bear'

Lyrics: 'Save It For A Rainy Day'

Following on from Ryan Adams in Week Four Class Song of the Day Music Weeks was brought to you by The Jayhawks a most underrated and glorious band. Been lucky enough to see them a few times, as well as seeing the lead singer Gary Louris perform in Liverpool. Top songwriting with lovely guitar and beautiful harmonies.

They is top (I like them so much my main email address is named after a Jayhawks album!).

Jayhawks

The seven songs I chose were:

  • Waiting for the Sun
  • I'm Going to Make You Love Me
  • Ace
  • All the Right Reasons
  • What Led Me To This Town
  • Bad Time, and
  • Stumbling Through the Dark

Click on the pic to go to the Class Song of the Day (Year Two) and check them out.

This week's songs are from Frank Turner the prolific English troubadour. I've had a real hard time whittling that down to seven songs; pretty sure I'll have a second Frank week later in the year.

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Much More Class Ryan et al

Just updated the next ten songs on Buffer for the upcoming days with some fab tune age. Disappointed how little decent live footage (or even official videos there are of next week's class act). Ho hum. Some bands don't get the coverage or investment they deserve. Ryan Adams week has come to an end there was no probs finding decent vids and lots of live stuff by him. Biggest problem was refining a selection down to seven songs. Been listening to lots of the CDs in the van this week, whacking them on loud. Let's face it I could have just put seven tracks of Gold or Heartbreaker up. Me thinks I'll be having a second Ryan Adams week later in the year.

The seven songs I chose for Ryan Adams week were:

  • I Love You But I Don't Know What to Say
  • Two
  • When the Stars Go Blue
  • Do You Still Love Me?
  • Let It Ride
  • Come Pick Me Up
  • This Is It

Really I could have picked seven other songs and been equally happy with the selection. So many good songs in that man's heart.

Ryan Adams

Putting ten songs in Buffer means I've selected the first three songs of the following week too and again the biggest problem with that act is getting the number down to seven songs and I can see me definitely having a second week for that artist too.

Thinking of presenting the Class Song of The Day pages on the website differently now that this year it is split into weeks. Watch this space...

Anyways, been good to keep it going and enjoying the videos and performances myself even if not many of you guys have been clicking yet (though happy to see Sal has been enjoying Ryan today!).

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Counting Crows Week

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: COUNTING CROWS WEEK

"When everybody loves you,
Oh, son, that's just about as funky as you can be"


It is Week Three of my Class Song of the Day Music Weeks and following on from Warren Zevon and Wilco it is another of my big lovely favourite bands, the wonderful Counting Crows. I fell in love with them straight away when I first heard them on the new Virgin Radio through 1993 and 94. At the same time I fell in love with Cracker who (I think) toured with the Crows around that time in the UK. I didn't see them on that tour but I have been lucky enough to see them three or four times in the UK.

Adam D

Given how long they've been going it is a bit surprising that they've only released seven studio albums:

August and Everything After (1993)
Recovering the Satellites
(1996)
This Desert Life
(1999)
Hard Candy
(2002)
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
(2008)
Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation)
(2012)
Somewhere Under Wonderland
(2014)

If you haven't got August and Everything After then you really don't have a CD collection at all, so get it sorted. Mr Jones is one of the most perfect pop songs ever and don't get me started on Anna Begins.

August Hard Candy Desert Life

If you don't like listening to Adam Duritz singing and baring his soul then you, my friend, have no soul.

Happy listening.
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Wilco Week

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: WILCO WEEK

Following on from Warren Zevon Week, which was the first of the artists of the week for Class Song Of The Day (Year Two), it's now week two and this week's band is one of my most favouritest bestest bands ever ever. It's Wilco (the band not the Johnson).

Wilco 1
Wilco - the Band

I've been lucky enough to see them several times in Manchester and Nottingham and at the End of the Road Festival. They are a top band and a brilliant live act; wonderfully melodic, occasionally very noisy, great lyrics (which is my 'thing' I guess) and most of all consistently high quality thanks in no small part to the fab songwriting of the lead man Jeff Tweedy.

Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy - songwriter extraordinaire

They've released ten studio albums and an excellent double live album (Kicking Television, 2005). The studio album discography comprises:

A.M. (1995)
Being There (1996)
Summerteeth (1999)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
A Ghost is Born (2004)
Sky Blue Sky (2007)
Wilco (The Album) (2009)
The Whole Love (2011)
Star Wars (2015)
Schmilco (2016)


Typing those out I realise I don't have the two most recent - it must be rectified. I'd find it hard to recommend just one, due to the aforementioned consistent quality. If you are coming to them for the first time maybe I'd recommend Summerteeth that said YHF or A Ghost... a difficult call.

NelsCline
Nels Cline - Boss guitarst and chief wall of noise meister

You can also find the two albums they recorded with Billy Bragg, performing songs to lyrics from Woodie Guthrie; Mermaid Avenue I and II.

If you get a chance to see them live don't miss them. And prepare to be blown away by a tight band, immense tunes and some stellar guitar and noise from Nels Cline.

Hope you enjoy this week's curated tunes.

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Warren Zevon Week

Warren Zevon 1

CLASS SONG OF THE DAY YEAR TWO: WARREN ZEVON WEEK

Well, here we go, Year Two of Class Song Of The Day has commenced with six songs by six different artists and from tomorrow onwards we'll be having lots of 'Weeks' of bands and artistes. There could be no other artist for the first week but Warren Zevon. Had real problems deciding which songs to pick, I could have picked a whole other seven and been equally happy with the choices. Anyways, I hope you enjoy them. And if you do, and haven't come across him much then get some Zevon in your record collection forthwith. A class act and a wonderful lyricist; anyone who can write verses like this from The French Inhaler has got to be loved and admired:

"Loneliness and frustration
We both came down with an acute case
And when the lights came up at two
I caught a glimpse of you
And your face looked like something
Death brought with him in his suitcase.

Your pretty face
It looked so wasted
Another pretty face
Devastated
The French Inhaler
He stamped and mailed her..."


As a starting point you could do worse then getting the best of album 'Genius' and then wend your way from there to his studio albums.

Genius

The biographical book 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead' is a fair read put together as snippets from people who were with him at various points of his somewhat chaotic life. Interesting way of sketching out his life.

Warren Ill Sleep

I've scheduled the first three songs of the next artist too. But I won't tell you who that is until next weekend ...
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ClassSongOfTheDay Year TWO!

Today was the anniversary of my attempt to tweet a link to a song each day, which I christened "Class Song Of The Day". In theory it was one song per day by an artist, who wasn't to be repeated in that year and it went out every day at 8am thanks to my use of Buffer. I got close enough to doing a 'damn fine job' apparently (quote unattributed; although it may have been me). The first song up was the wonderful Natalie Merchant and via another 363 songs I ended with Sheb Wooley and the 'Purple People Eater'.
PPE

Anyway that was the year that was, what about the year that is to be?

I haven't spent much time thinking about it, but I was never going to continue with the same aim i.e. another 365 artists with no repetition. Carrying on with the daily song though... well I'm happy to give it a go. So I was - or still am - after a different form.

My current thinking is to have an Artist of the Week and/or Themes of the Week (or Fortnight). I've already picked my first few bands and singer songwriters but if I'm making it as round weeks then I'm not starting it tomorrow (on a Tuesday; that'd be silly). Therefore I've picked the next six songs (and I LURVE them all) and the band/theme weeks will start next week.

Class Song Of The Day Year One Is Dead,
Long Live Class Song Of The Day Year Two!

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Thinking Cap

Well, it's Saturday and I'm a) off and b) of to Sheffield on a real ale trip. Huzzah! It's a wonderful city for real ale pubs. Me thinks a Jaipur in the Thornbridge Tap may be in order. Then of course some Pale Rider in the Kelham Island Tavern.

It's also the last weekend of the first year of Class Song of the Day. The wonderful Centrefold by J. Geils Band yesterday and Rick James' Super Freak today leaves just two days and three songs to go tomorrow and Monday.

Er and now I realise I just have TWO days to decide what to do with next year's Class Song. Or even if to continue with it at all. Um... thinking cap. I need to buy a thinking cap. As I'm of to Yorkshire maybe I'll find a thinking flat cap.
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A Year of Class

I've done it. Scheduled up to next week so that I will have succeeded in a year of music tweets in #ClassSongOfTheDay As mentioned last week I realised I appear to have repeated one song so on the last day of the 'Class Song Year' I've scheduled two songs. The last one is a real daft one from the 1950s which I loved as a kid. Not sure how well known it really is. But hey, it's a great song so it's in. Still haven't decided what I'll do with the Class Song once the year is up. I've a week or so to think about it.

I've now created all the Class Song pages (bar this April's) with all the artists and songs. Just got a hell of a lot of links to add... hope to get that updated over the next week or so.

It's taking a few hours to do on the website but it'll look good when it's completed and then I'll have some time to do some writing. My writing has stalled a little lately. But I'm keen to get on with some. Watch this space.

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December and January Class

Updated the Class Song of the Day pages with all the links to the songs from December 2017 and January 2018. Only the previous eight months to get up over the next week or two. Getting there though.

Two things that have come to notice during obtaining these links included finding one of the songs had not gone out on twitter. 'Dodecahedron' by Beth Jeans Houghton should have been tweeted on the 13th December but wasn't. I can't tell if the song went out on Facebook having just deleted my account.

Beth2

Worse still I've found a song I've put up twice over the year. I'm really not sure what has gone wrong there. Will have to have a double song day to ensure I've 365 different artistes over the year. I thought I was doing so well too. Damn!

#ClassSongOfTheDay
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More Class Songs

I've finally got around to putting some of the links through to the songs from Class Song of the Day on to the website. Partly this is because of me getting off Facebook. My FB page has largely comprised just the Class Song being automatically copied over there when the tweet goes up each morning at 8am. A few regular visitors to my daily song on FB aren't Twitter users so I thought maybe if they are going to keep following the songs then they are more likely to peer at the website than head over to Twitter.

Sleeper2

As I've already posted 340 links with this Twitter quest that means I face a lot of Copy and Paste to get the links checked and sorted so it will take me a while, but I've made a start with getting March to date and February links sorted on one page. To minimise pages but also minimise scrolling I've decided to display the links with two months per page and it seems to fit alright this way. I won't be updating the links page each day. I'll probably end up doing it once a week playing catch up with the Tweets of the previous week or so - I don't want to give away each of the daily songs in advance now, do i?

FirstAidKit

It'll definitely be easier to click through songs on the list than trying to find individual links through the hashtag for anyone who doesn't follow me on Twitter. So first 50 or so links posted, just another 290 to go through. Flip! A rod for my own back maybe, but once the year is up the effort will have made a nice whole. When I've a moment I'll consider whether to put other information up there in addition to the song links. That said, I only have so much time ya know!

Villagers

Head over to the Class Song (Feb-March) page to check out the links to the songs from the last couple of months. There should be something there for everyone.
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Mixed Up Class

Been another good few songs in the last few days from Class Song of the Day including some excellent indie stuff from the 90s with They Might Be Giants, Echobelly, Elastica, Lush and Orange Juice. Been nice to listen - some of these which I haven't heard for years.

Sleeper Elastica
Sleeper / Elastica
Lush OrangeJuice
Lush / Orange Juice

The next ten days are up and ready to go on Buffer which will take it up to day/song #315 and includes a right mix of classic rock and roll, rockabilly, folk, country and blues rock.

Keep listening!

#ClassSongOfTheDay
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Buffer & Six Months of Class Song of the Day

TP

Last night I scheduled the next ten days of my daily #ClassSongOfTheDay tweet out which will take me past the six month mark. So far I've managed to succeed in the aim to have unique artistes for each day, so there have been over 185 bands and singers I've gone through. Expect I'll manage that over the following year, after that though I will no doubt start repeating some of the bands - probably - but never the same song and artist. Assuming I keep track of it properly.
Wilc
I've had pop, rock, folk, Americana, Motown, blues and many things in between and long may that continue. The next week brings up a mix of Americana, 80s Pop and modern Indie tunes. It was sad last week retweeting an earlier Tom Petty ClassSong after his early departure from us, hoping I don't have to do that too often too soon.


AMc

Buffer, the website I use to schedule the daily Tweets, has been easy to use and I can recommend it for anyone wanting to send out a regular message when they are out and about or want to arrange them all in one go in advance. It's easy to use and has never failed to send the Tweet out on time; so basically it does what it says on the tin. You can only schedule TEN tweets (and/or FB Posts) at a time with a free account, but if you wanted it done professionally for a web campaign I could see it being very worthwhile paying for. Not for my little Class Song though - I'll just have to keep on top of it every eight to ten days or so.

BD

If you are interested in using it then try it out at www.buffer.com

DPS
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Lost Class Songs of the Days

Class Song of the Day on Twitter (and sometimes on my otherwise rarely used FB page) is now on Day 127 with 'Handle With Care' from the great supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. The Wilburys were one of the bands that made the jump from my cassette to the CD collection and whilst I'm trying to avoid repeating artists on each of this year's #ClassSongsOfTheDay I keep finding songs and artists that I used to have in my collection that I no longer have since the cassettes got binned a few years ago.

wilbs

It could and should cost me some money to bring my CD collection back up to include artists I haven't listened to for such a long while. Of course I could stream or download... but I'm a person who needs a hard copy of my songs in my hand or on my shelf.

A second hand CD shop or two may take a hammering over the coming months. That said, I'll need some more CD storage...

Dang that music!


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It's The Caledonia Americana Fest

Caught half the set last night from the always excellent Nick Ellis in the Caledonia. There was a good appreciative audience in there and it is nice set up for the upcoming music festival.

P1010608
P1010591


It's good to see the return to the Cali of their Americana Fest, which this year runs from Monday 31st July until 13th August. There is no pub better in Liverpool to see (always FREE) great quality music. Always a good bunch of people in there and they sell real ale there too (other drinks are apparently available too). So what's stopping you?

CalamFest

DSC_1124

The schedule (9pm start unless specified):

Monday 31st - Hannah Aldridge + Louisiana
Tuesday 1st - Donkey Hokey
Wednesday 2nd - Cajun Session
Thursday 3rd - Speakeasy Bootleg Jazz Band
Friday 4th - Blind Monk Trio
Saturday 5th - Dirty Cello
Sunday 6th - Martin Smith Quartet (4-7pm)
Sunday 6th - The Desperate Measures (9pm)
Monday 7th - The Big Easy
Tuesday 8th - Yellow Belly Stragglers + Swampcandy
Wednesday 9th - Howlin' Ric & the Rocketeers
Thursday 10th - Rosenblume + The Whisky Situation
Friday 11th - Marley Changes
Saturday 12th - Amanda Brown & the Common Ears
Sunday 13th - Loose Moose String Band (8.30pm)

DSC_0382

DSC_1370

Keep up to date on the Caledonia website.
Follow @thecaledonia
Tweet #calamfest


www.thecaledonialiverpool.com

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Top Tweets

I love Twitter. It's just a fab community. A fast way to find out things, identify trends. Follow the right people, ignore a lot. Sift through the mire with your eyes wide open and it is a fab world in itself.

Oh, and through it I've WON a load of boss stuff on it. In the last few years: pairs of tickets to Glastonbury, to V Festival, Low, Magic Numbers, Josh Rouse and Ed Harcourt. And meals at a couple of Liverpool pubs. A £30 bar tab. And a Liverpool Cheese Club event. All through Twitter.

SaintMotel
Saint Motel at Liverpool, July 2017

And this week I won a couple of tickets to Saint Motel at Liverpool O2 Academy, through Bido Lito! Didn't know the band. Didn't have a song by them. The only song I'd heard a bit of was through the NowTV advert (and I didn't know it was them until I won the tickets); just break it down to different sizes and listen to the very catchy 'My Type'. Anyway, medium length story short... it was a lovely gig. Thanks Bido Lito. And thanks again Twitter!!!

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Songs and Songs and Songs

Good to see one of my fave songwriters, Conor Oberst (as Bright Eyes), was the most popular song last week and the Killers got some love too.

Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst

Now I've updated my Buffer for the next ten days. It's mainly 90s band stuff coming up, but it's a real classic tomorrow from the 1980s and Sal will defo know it - a very famous videos too!
Killers
Killers

In fact I got a bit carried away today and I've identified my playlist all the way through to August 8th. Blimey!

Rock on! (...and folk on, and pop on too).


#ClassSongOfTheDay

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Daily Updates: Every Day

Been doing better with my Daily Delivery Photo and my Class Song of the Day twittering than I could hope.

Actually
51 songs in to the #ClassSongOfTheDay Will I do the full year without missing an update? Oh I suppose not, but so far so good. Aiming to go the full year without any repetition of artist which means I am having to keep a spreadsheet. I tell ya, that is serious business. Been a good mix of singers, bands and genres. But I should push the envelope a little at some point. I've got the spreadsheet sorted until mid-July and there's plenty of classics coming up!

Today's song is from
Shakira when she was brunette, strummed a guitar and sang in her own language. Some things never change hey!?

shak

Here's the 51 artists so far in the order they have appeared. It looks like a great festival line-up:

Natalie Merchant - Mark Knopfler - Pixies - Arctic Monkeys - Belly - REM - Diesel Park West - Blue Aeroplanes - Jayhawks - Teenage Fanclub - Robert Cray - BB King - Felice Brothers - Radiohead - Del Amitri - Cranberries - Black - Queen - Frank Turner - Neil Young - Ryan Adams - Bryan Adams & Tina Turner - John Hiatt - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Stevie Ray Vaughan - Stornoway - British Sea Power - Eurythmics - Cast - Boo Radley’s - Tears for Fears - Echo & the Bunnymen - Wah! - The La’s - Beatles - Cracker - Deer Tick - Gun’s n Roses - Black Crowes - Heart - Sigur Ros - Decemberists - Jeff Buckley - Magic Numbers - Adele - Ben Kweller - Blues Brothers - Jimi Hendrix - John Lee Hooker - Broken Family Band - Santana - Shakira


Every so often I update this as a Playlist on Youtube so I can find them in one handy place:

YouTube: ClassSongOfTheDay

In the meantime keep an eye out every morning at
8am (UK) @zevonesque
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More songs of class

Music Playlist

I'm now
Fifteen Days in to Class Song of the Day and the last week has seen great music from:

Blue Aeroplanes
Jayhawks
Teenage Fanclub
Robert Cray
BB King
Felice Brothers
Radiohead
and
Del Amitri

Hard to pick a favourite out of that lot for me. Although everyone else's fave seems to have been "
Nothing Ever Happens" by Del Amitri. Who knew? I guess it's one way of identifying the demographic of my twittering cohorts.

Del

Have created a playlist for all the #ClassSongOfTheDay songs should anyone want to find them all in one handy place; now on YouTube.
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Class Song of the Day

Started 'Class Song of the Day' last week on Twitter and to do that have started using Buffer, so that it's timetabled and consistent.

One week in and the songs have been:

Natalie Merchant: San Andreas Fault
Mark Knopfler: Going Home (Local Hero)
Pixies: Here Comes Your Man
Arctic Monkeys: When the Sun Goes Down
Belly: Feed the Tree
REM: Imitation of Life
Diesel Park West: All the Myths on Sunday

Have already lined up the next couple of weeks.

'
Buffer' is dead easy to use. Neat and simple. Using the FREE version I can only line up 10 tweets at a time, so I'll still need to remember to update it every now and again. But once every ten days? Then yeah, I can keep that up.

In theory.

Main risk later in year is repetition. And I don't want any of that going on. So I've
set up a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet I tell you! Is there no end to my morning of computing... Tweets, 'Buffering', Blogs, Hard Drives, Spreadsheets...

Yeah, but no fiction writing AJ. Okay, that's enough. Talking to yourself in the third person. Step away from the computer. Step away. Put the kettle, make a coffee, pick up a pen and a pad.

I said, 'Step away from the computer, you Sunday morning procrastinator.'


-----

Find the songs on Twitter as #ClassSongOfTheDay where it gets tweeted every morning at 8 BST
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Everyday Music

Musical Notes

Every so often I post links to
music I like or love on Twitter. Sometimes I post quite a few on a day, then I may go weeks without doing it again. Makes sense if I'm going to do it at all I should spread it out rather than have sudden bursts of inspiration!

So I've done it and linked up my
@zevonesque Twitter account so that I can send out regular timetabled tweets. I've given Buffer a go to do this. So in theory at 8am (UK) every day this week there should be some right quality mixed-up music choice winging your way via my Twitter account. We'll see how/if it works.

First up today was the wonderful
Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs) with a live version of San Andreas Fault from way back in the early 1990s. Takes me right back to early 1990s when I was working in Mexico, when it was my favourite album at the time (prior to discovering Shakira and Mana in Mexico).

TigerLily

San Andreas Fault is just a wonderful song and Natalie is such a class act. What an amazing 3 minutes or so and it's a great song to start my new daily scheduled music I think.



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Day Two: NeNa NaNo

Day Two was another working day, and not as early a finish as yesterday but I didn't do bad in terms of word count. Not quite finished the chapter hopefully get to finish it tomorrow. I don't know when to get around to reading it to see how rambling and incoherent it is. I'm guessing best doing that later rather than sooner in terms of carrying on and getting the bulk of the story down.

After spending sometime yesterday putting an iTunes Playlist together and listening to it a bit whilst working, today I started of with a bit of Mozart and then largely worked without music at all. I think 'wordy' music or even music that gets my head nodding may be okay before being in charge of a keyboard and a story with its whims and random acts of chance, but during it those song words may get involved with the story at some point. I think I may give Sigur Ros an hour or two at some point during the month rather than silence. Will be useful to know what really works best for me.

Anyway I managed 2213 words today, which after being a little low yesterday (1435) happily brings me back on track and gives me the knowledge that I can do 2000 words in a day. Even a working one. Woo hoo!

I even had time to update my website a little and - obviously - write this blog.

See you soon! x
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It's Here!! NaNoWriMo

Day One of NaNo (that's what I'm calling it from now on, live with it) and it was a working day like most of the month will be, but the working part of the day was short and okay. So I managed a few hours of writing late afternoon (3.30-6.30pm) and I've got myself an okay start - 1435 words.

Assuming you get to write every day you would need to write 1667 words per day to get to that magic 50k. That's a big assumption - I've already identified at least three days I am likely not to contribute many more than a few hundred or do a little re-reading/editing. So, say four days not writing at all that gets you up to 2000 words required a day. Um, that means I'm behind already. Okay, let's not go there. I'll have days above 2000 - possibly.

It's a question of getting into a groove and seeing how the story writing flows and hoping it doesn't stick much. I've already had to pop in and out of the writing to google research on silly little phrases and ideas.

The story is set around a Liverpool supporter with a cunning plan and so of course I had to create an appropriate Liverpool Playlist before I started the typing. Cue: La's, Bunnymen, Real People, Amsterdam, Space, Beatles, Boo Radleys, Johnny Cash (Ring of Fire), Gomez, Beta-Band & Steve Mason and Alun Parry.

It'll be fun this.

- I think.
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