Category Archives: Humour

The tracks of my years

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I thought I’d try to compile a playlist of songs that represent me, or that speak to me on some level, so here goes.  They’re in no particular order.

  1. Gone Cold by Clutch. Probably the first “new” band I’ve heard in a long time, though I’ve since found out that they’ve been going since the early 90s. I listen to podcasts a lot when I’m driving, and one work related podcast features this song as the intro and outro music. It has a lovely, laid back feel to it, with vocals which drawl gently through the opening lines, but which reveal more of an edge when singing the lines around the song title.  I think I am also pretty laid back most of the time, but can be steely as and when necessary.
  2. Doesn’t Make it All Right by The Specials. When you’re growing up in a pretty much exclusively white rural town in the Scottish lowlands, a song which is very much anti-racist sends a strong message,  This song combines one of my favoured music genres (ska) with a conviction that I felt strongly at the time and still do. Oh, and my favourite band, SLF, do an awesome version of it.
  3. Boogie Chillun by John Lee Hooker. Cut down, raw blues with a wonderful hook, this song is just brilliant. the lyrics, about a child’s desire to break free and get lost in their music at times exactly how I feel.  I go through peaks and troughs, and at their height I just want to be enveloped in listening to and playing great music.
  4. Born On The Bayou by Creedence Clearwater Revival. OK, I’m not entirely sure what a bayou is, and I’ve no idea what shoogling is (it’s one of the words in the lyrics), but this song has a similar sort of feel to me as number 1 above does.  It’s quite chilled, but at the same time full of a sort of restless energy which breaks out from time to time.
  5. Panic Song by Green Day. This song is not long, and it’s not complex: but the intro is nothing more than a build up of energy which eventually explodes into action. In a lot of respects, my anger is like that: it takes a long long time to build, then (and only very rarely) does it get released.
  6. Soul Man by Sam and Dave This mostly made the cut because a) the Blues Brothers did it, b) it’s a fab time and c) they say “play it Steve” (to Steve Cropper) and I am a Steve!
  7. Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet. Again, Steve gets a mention, this time in the intro, but I chose this because it was one of the first songs I remember by a band I used to really like. I think this and Teenage Rampage probably laid the path for me to follow in terms of melodic music with a strong drum line.
  8. White Noise by Stiff Little Fingers. As with The Specials number above, this is very much an anti-racist number, though oddly enough when it first came out radio stations refused to play it because it has a derogatory w-word in every chorus. If they’d checked the lyrics they’d have seen that it was protesting about discrimination for whatever reason, whether race, colour, creed or nationality. What a great message!
  9. In The Hall Of The Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. I’m half Norwegian, half Scottish, and this is written by a Norwegian composer whose parents were Scots and has our hero encountering giants in their home.
  10. Donald Where’s Yir Troosers by Andy Stewart. This is a none too serious look at what it’s like to be a Scot from the sticks, and particularly when they venture down into the big city of London.  I’m a Scot who made the move from a rural part of the country away to England and to a big down. Oh, and if you want an Elvis impression, there’s one on here too – uh huh!

This was harder than I had expected, but I think I got there in the end. I hope you like the list!

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You’re (g)out of order!

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Dear Gout,

I’m sorry that you had to leave, as it was very kind of you to come and visit for all those years.  Popping up at unexpected times and preventing me from sleeping or walking was such a wonderful experience that I hardly know where to start.  The uncertainty and seemingly random times when you’d visit added a little excitement and frisson to every day. Ensuring that I spent money every month, on medication I took daily, was a particularly neat touch.

Who knew that you and alcohol were such good friends? Imagine my surprise when I found that after I stopped alcohol from coming round for more than one or two beers a week, that you decided you’d overstayed your welcome and slowly, silently left.  Even better, you took the need for medication with you, and my toes have been pain free for months.

I do hope you won’t take this the wrong way Gout, but I don’t want us to be friends, and I don’t want us to see each other ever again.  I have a new life, with new friends like fresh fruit and food made from scratch, and so it’s over between us.

Best Regards

Big Erik

All aboard! Image #139

I’ve been away at a conference over the past few days, and am just catching up on life, including my “daily” posts.  Apologies that these have fallen by the wayside somewhat in recent weeks, but I reckon a new job and moving house are a reasonable excuse!

Anyhow, I went out for dinner in a pizza restaurant for a well known chain here in the UK (no, I don’t know why I’ve not just named them either) and noticed some rather fetching art, which included this:

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In case I’ve not mentioned it, Liverpool FC are my favourite football team, and the conference happened to be in Liverpool. Given my Scandinavian heritage, Dee has called me “the Viking” for several years.  The image for today therefore seemed incredibly apt.

Is there any artwork that “speaks” to you in a similar way?  If so – what and how?

The Clown and The Wolfman – Image #128

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During the late 70s and early 80s, there were a number of light romantic comedies which were set in Scotland. Many people will be familiar with Local Hero or Gregory’s Girl, but how many of you have heard of, never mind seen, this one?

I went to see this at the cinema when it came out. It tells the story of two young lads in Edinburgh who decide to supplement their incomes by robbing tourist buses. The Clown gets in with a “real” gangster and becomes hell-bent on making a name for himself in the criminal underworld. The Wolfman falls for a courier on one of the buses they rob. Much of the film is shot in the Highlands of Scotland which makes it feel like a tourism commercial. Throw in seemingly incompetent police and wannabe fan club members and you get a charming film.

It’s not complicated or sophisticated, and you can see the plot lines from a mile off, yet no one left the cinema till after the credits had stopped rolling: I’ve never known that happen before or since.  And the reason? The whole soundtrack was written and performed by Big Country. It’s a wonderful piece of work and even now I love listening to it.

 

A punderful present! – Image #126

Having just got back from an amazing few days in Prague to celebrate my big birthday, I had presents to open when I got home. Among them was this book:

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For those who don’t know him, Tim is renowned in the UK for his puns and one liners. A bit like Canada’s Stuart Francis but not as dry, with faster delivery and incorporating visual gags into his act, Tim is (as far as I’m aware) the only person to have won Best Joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice.

His humour is very much right up my street, and I’m looking forward to reading this! Here’s an example:

Exit signs: they’re on the way out…

Sounds good – Image #107

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Its been a good day today. Very lazy, but then sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed. I spent ages this morning putting new strings on my latest bass: that was mostly because I wanted to clean it really well since I’ve no idea who else has played it or what they’d done to it.

Of the pedals above, I don’t need the Babe Attractor, as I’ve already got one. The others though? I’ll leave others to judge!