Monday, December 31, 2007

Spectacular...

Playlist
Various - Holiday Hits
Various - Jukebox Playlist Arran No 2

Did I mention it's been raining since Saturday night?

Well it has and this morning was no exception as down it came again...

Up late (again) and Anne made breakfast today - bacon, eggs & tomatoes and toast, coffee & juice...
Then some relaxing around the house...

We also put out some bread for the wildlife and attracted a robin, some blackbirds, a few crows and a lovely wee red squirrel...

We finally hit the road around 2 - to Brodick for some tourist information and then back to Lamlash with a view to buying some steaks for dinner this evening. To no avail though, as the butcher was shut and the Co-op had none...
We opted for chicken instead - tonight it was to be Penny's turn to cook...
Then down the coast to a rain-lashed Whiting Bay (see wind-battered Xmas tree below) where we walked around getting soaked before visiting the art gallery - the worried wee dog outside awaiting its mistress was not for sale...
Drove to the Eden Bar for coffee, only to be told their machine was on the blink and received a recommendation for the Kildonan Hotel further south - we noted a pub-quiz was to take place at Eden on Thursday...
By now we were driving through mist and rain but finally found the Hotel in question - the coffee was superb and the wee biscuits which came with it enticed into ordering seconds...
After watching Superman and his mates playing pool...

..your correspondent was soundly beaten by Count Brodski by accidentally potting the black out of turn...

By the time we emerged it was dark, adding further to the treacherous driving conditions but that didn't stop us from vivsiting the Co-op (fast becoming our favourite haunt) for cakes...
We stayed in all night and Penny made a lovely chicken and olive risotto from scratch. Mmm, mmm...
Dinner was followed by copious amounts of drink all round as we headed for midnight accompanied by "Coronation St", "Eastenders" (A&P are fans), "River City" (ditto), "Only an Excuse" and "Still Game"....

For the bells we had some very smokey sparklers and champagne on tap...
Penny headed outside to get reception to call her folks and noted a bonfire along the shore so we grabbed our coats and some drinks and set off to see what the buzz was...
We came across some spectacular fireworks being set off by one of our neighbours - he'd paid over £300 for three boxes containing three separate displays, each comprising 1,500 or so fireworks...
Spectacular!!
We commandeered what turned out to be the abandoned bonfire...
We hung around here getting warm and drunk before setting off for home...
Finally went to bed around three after some excellent smoked salmon toasties from Penny...
Happy New Year!!!
Highlight of the Day : The red squirrel on our doorstep..

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon...

Playlist
Various – Holiday Hits
Various – Arran Playlist No 1
Various – Jukebox Shuffleplay

Everyone was finally up by around 11:30 and, after consuming a lovely breakfast of toast with scrambled egg and smoked salmon whilst watching the red squirrels and robins in the garden, we set off for Brodick...

We walked along the front, checking out all the shops including the Chocolate Shop, where a few choccies were purchased...


Penny also bought some cards, including this one of some standing stones on the West side of the island which we are hoping to see later on...


Then back to the car and we drove on out of Brodick to the Cheese Factory – where some cheese was bought...


We had a look round various other “attractions” including the Arran Brewery, all of which were closed unfortunately...

Then, stopping off at the co-op for mixers, we headed back home through the gloom of late afternoon...

The chocs were consumed along with some coffee and then we just lazed around...

After the delights of “Coronation St”, Alan set about making one of his signature pasta dishes and we had a delicious late dinner around 9 pm...


We stumbled across a guide as to where to eat out in Arran – which had been commented upon, presumably by various previous guests...


Observations included the fact that Creelers Fish Restaurant “stinks of fish” and a Chinese restaurant was apparently “good for chinese food”. There were various disparaging comments on eatery hosts such as “talks to much, possibly German”, “very annoying man”, “owner is pain in the neck” and finally, the classic “no, no, no” against several of the places listed...

Off to bed around 11...

Highlight of the Day : Busy doing not very much

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Under stars...

Playlist
Various – Holiday Hits
Various – Jukebox Shuffleplay
Various – Now That’s What I Call Music Oct 2005
Magazine - Play

Up at 7 after a restless night and off to Arran around 8:30...

By 10 we were in a little eatery near the town of Dalry called Graze. We texted Brodski and Penny and they joined us, having been maybe 15 minutes behind us on the road...

After a good ferry crossing we arrived at 1 pm on Arran, which presented us with a snow-covered Goat Fell...



...and finally found our house in Lamlash around an hour later...



We made ourselves comfortable and noted the various wildlife – seals and herons in the bay at the end of the garden, and got stuck into some champagne, wine and beer...



Around 6 we walked into Lamlash – our landlord had advised a 10 minute walk but it was actually three times that...

More drinks at the Aldersyde Hotel one half of which comprised the Taj Mahal Tandoori Restaurant...



Of course a tasty meal followed, then a walk back home under a brilliant display of stars...

Once back in the house, my attempt to watch “Match of the Day” was thwarted by sleep...

Highlight of the Day : Having a holiday

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sick things...

Playlist
Various – Jukebox Shuffleplay

Slept late – then out to Tesco for some provisions for the upcoming trip to Arran with Count Brodski and Lady Penelope...

In the afternoon, Anne went to see Lynn while I had an attempt at compiling my list of albums of the year. I was overcome by an attack of the shakes however and had to take to my sick bed (again)...

Anne woke me around 5:15 and we drove out to Armadale with Meg the Black Cat to her ex mum Julia’s house, which will be Meg’s home for the next week or so...



Meg was not pleased but I’m sure she’ll come round...

Julia spoiled us with lovely home made ham soup and mulled wine...

We were back home around 10 or so after giving Julia a lift to her sister’s...

Watched “Coronation St” on tape then off to bed...

Highlight of the Day : Julia’s soup and wine

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm away back to bed now...

Playlist
Various - Best of 2007
Steve Reich - Phases
Various - Jazz Jukebox on Shuffleplay



Not feeling great this morning and staed in bed til around 10:30...

We had a lunch date with Chris-with-a-ch- from Anne's work over in Dunfermline - not the most welcoming of places on a windy, rainy day...

Since both Indian Restaurants in the town were closed for business, we went instead to the Seven Kings where Anne had a curry in any case whilst I chose haggis and Chris opted for haddock and chips...

All v tasty and all v reasonable too...

Back home by around 4:30 or so, having narrowly cheated death when Anne woke me up on the dual carriageway leading into Edinburgh with a screamed "What are you doing?" as the car headed at speed towards the pavement...

As the evening progressed I felt worse and worse and in a way I was glad that a projected visit from Alan and Penny did not materialise...

After watching an hour and a half of Corrie and a ludicrously unfunny "My Family Xmas Special", I finally capitulated to the lurgi and headed for bed at 7:30 pm - not like me...

Worst I'd felt for a long time but, by 10pm I seemed to have recovered sufficiently to get up again and headed downstairs to watch "Extras" which Anne had kindly taped as I lay in my sick bed...

A good ending to the series with Andy Millman's speech from the Big Brother house being one of which I wish people would take heed - but they won't and we'll no doubt continue on our vacuous celebrity obsessed lifestyle in the UK...

After that time for bed and some cool jazz sounds soothed me back to sleep...

Highlight of the Day : Waking at 10pm to find I felt a lot better than before

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The pie pie pie...

Playlist
Anton Corbijn - Director Collection (DVD)
Various - Master Cuts Jazz Cafe
Girls Aloud - Tangled Up
Steve Reich - Phases
Pink Floyd - The Wall (DVD)
Various - Disco Classics
Various - Tamla Motown Gold

Up late today and listened to and watched some of my presents...

Anne walked to Jane's to get the car and go to Tynecastle with her mum, where the Jam Tarts suffered yet another home defeat, this time from my hometown team, St Mirren, and are now 10th in the twelve team league...

Queens, on the other hand, beat joint league leaders Dundee 2-1 at home...

In the evening Mum and Pam came by for the Boxing Day meal...

Anne's steak pie (her first attempt) went down well...



...as did the strawberry cheesecake...

Later on, as the ladies chatted, Pam insisted on copies of the Disco Classics set I gave Anne for Xmas and the Girls Aloud album which Anne gave to me...

I also gave Pam a Xmas Selection Box of 64 MP3 albums on a DVD...

Tasty...

And mum finally received her Digital Picture Frame together with a memory card packed with lovely photos of her extended family...which was nice...

Highlight of the Day : Anne's steak pie

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

Playlist
Isaac Hayes – Live at the Sahara Tahow
Michael Rother – Sterntaler (LP)
Various – The Best Xmas EP in the World...Ever!
Various – Master Cuts Jazz Café
Girls Aloud – Tangled Up
Steve Reich – Six Pianos
Chris Hughes – Shift : From the Music of Steve Reich
Various – Jukebox Shuffleplay
Roxy Music - The Thrill of it All

Managed not to get up until around 8:30 – which is very late for me on Xmas Day...

A sort of White Xmas...



Michael Rother on the record player reminded us of our first Xmas together back in 1980...



...and then the best Xmas EP in the World...Ever! (Slade, John Lennon, Gary Glitter, Greg Lake, Wizzard) accompanied our rather sedate present opening – most of what I had bought for Anne was unexpected, while she’d insisted on having a list from me – luckily, it was so long ago that I’d forgotten most of what had been on the list...

CDs, DVDs, books (including a big surprise in Alice Cooper’s autobiography) and chocolate comprised my reward for being so good all year, while Anne definitely deserved all the jewellery, perfume, clothes, books, CDs, chocolate and desk-top calendar with digital picture viewer for having put up with me for yet another year...

Listened to the jazz CDs and the mighty Girls Aloud and spent a couple of hours trying to get Anne’s digital viewer thingy to work – to no avail...

We drove round to Jane and Bobby’s for the family meal – in time for the Queen’s speech which, as usual, everyone ignored as it was transmitted in the background...

Young Ollie received every Dr Who spin off product on the market this year but his favourite present seems to have been his huge art set – it remains to be seen what he produces but he does have an artistic bent...



...and Kitty was inseparable from her new strawberry shaped table and chair...

As ever Jane and Bobby put on an extensive spread and the excellent meal was accompanied by many drunken renditions of “We’re off to see the wizard...” from the grown ups, much to the children’s delight...

Later on, a film quiz and a music quiz, both via DVD and then it was home time....

We walked Anne’s mum most of the way to her house and then got back on route for Crispycat Towers...

Why do we have to live at the top of a hill?

50 minutes saw us home – mainly due to your unfit correspondent’s malingering – where we watched the Dr Who special (which didn’t inspire me I must say) and then Anne was off to bed, leaving me to try and sort the Photo Viewer....

At 1:40 am, success at last and it was off to bed with Roxy Music on the cans...

All over for another year....

Highlight of the Day : The fact that it was Xmas Day of course...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Piano lid down...

Playlist
Eels – Eels with Strings
Morrissey – Ringleader of the Tormentors
The Czars – Sorry I Made You Cry
Uncle Tupelo – 89:93 Anthology
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – The Letting Go
Grandaddy – Under the Western Freeway
Various – The Definitive Story of CBGBs
Bruce Springsteen – The Essential
No-Man – Together We’re Stranger
Sparklehorse – Dreamt for Light Years InThe Belly Of A Mountain
Secret Machines – September 000
Sex Pistols - Spunk
The Arcade Fire – Funeral & EP
The Divine Comedy – A Secret History
New Order – Singles
Motorhead – Ace of Spades
The Damned - Stiff Singles
Steve Harley – Cockney Rebel
Girls Aloud - Chemistry
Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden
Heaven 17 – Best Of
Bryan Ferry - Dylanesque
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
The Beach Boys – Smiley Smile
Dave Edmunds – Subtle as a Flying Mallet
Laura Pausini – Io Canto
Erasure – Light at the End of the World
Annie Lennox - Diva
Jonatha Brooke – Careful What You Wish For
Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing
Gary Jules – Trading Snake Oil
George Benson – Collection
Santana – Abraxas
ELO – Discovery
Small Faces – Anthology
Petula Clark – Downtown
Pet Shop Boys – Pop Art
The Move – Looking On
Lucy Kaplansky – Best Of
Mendelssohn – String Quartets
Oscar Peterson – The Trio Live From Chicago

Up early once again, leaving Anne to sleep on, as I worked on Jane and Bobby’s Xmas CDs (see playlist)...

Around 10 headed uptown, dropping Anne off at the butcher as she made preparations for Boxing Day...

I was looking for a couple more presents for my long-suffering executive producer – the first of which, I was advised in one shop which usually sold the thing I was after, was only available at Tesco...

The second and third things I found after some considerable deliberation and visits to a goodly number of shops...

And so, around 12, I headed for Tesco – in and out to the car with two items in around five minutes...

Now, usually, the car park in Tesco runs reasonably smoothly, there are never any major hold ups but, for some reason, they have (purely for Xmas/New Year I presume) blocked off one route which goes past the front of the shop and introduced around twenty staff in luminous yellow jackets to direct the flow of traffic...

Suffice to say the intervention only succeeded in blocking all routes causing me to be delayed for around 20 minutes trying to get out of the car park – annoyed doesn’t really cover it...

Back home and calmed, post a lunch snackette, we watched the film “Ice Age” – animation is just so good these days – followed by the last two “Ugly Betty”’s of the current series...

Wrote up the diary for the last few days and made up covers for the family Xmas CDs – we need a new printer methinks...

A Shrek Xmas special was followed by a repeat of “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol” then a special Xmas Eve dinner prepared expertly by Anne – my favourite – sirloin steak with pepper sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms, carrots and just-right chips...

Mmm, mmm...

Then, accompanied by probably one too many bottles of red wine, “Pirates of the Caribbean : The Black Pearl” – which was good but too much of it took place in the dark and it was really far too long – leaving us no time for “It’s A Wonderful Life”...

So, while I did the dishes from earlier whilst listening to the sadly departed Oscar Peterson didn’t know until today he was a Canadian...



...Anne caught up with “Coronation St”...

Then we both listened to Oscar...

And now off to bed – of course I won’t sleep because, at Xmas, I am like a four year old...

Highlight of the Day : Finishing my Xmas Shopping

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shelved...

Playlist
Various – The Milano Jukeboxes 2005-2007
Miles Davis – Circle in the Round
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Introducing
Pat Metheny – The Way Up
Sonny Clark – Sonny’s Crib
Eric Dolphy – Out There
Lee Morgan – The Cooker
Jackie McLean – Demon’s Dance
Grant Green – Am I Blue
Hank Mobley – The Flip
The Bad Plus – Prog
Chris Lyons – The Ill Tempered Klavier
John Surman – How Many Clouds Can You See
Steve Reid Ensemble – Spirit Walk
Return to Forever – Where Have I known You Before
Andrew Hill - Compulsion
Happy Apple – Back on Top
Various – Smokin’ Blue
Joni Mitchell - Travelogue
John Coltrane – Soul Train
John Gorka – The Company You Keep
Horace Silver – The Stylings of Silver
Lucy Kaplansky – Over the Hills
Brad Mehldau – Live in Tokyo
Craig Armstrong – World Trade Center
Various – Relaxin’ Blue
Annie Lennox - Medusa
Various – Evenin’ Blue
The Story – The Angel in the House
Average White Band – Very Best of
Jonatha Brook – 10c Wings
Dexter Gordon – One Flight Up
Jewel – Goodbye Alice in Wonderland
Art Blakey – One Night at Birdland
Suzanne Vega – Beauty and Crime
Various – Feelin’ Blue

Didn’t feel like a Sunday today – I guess because it’s nearly Xmas...

Up early after yesterday’s big sleep and set to compiling this year’s best of CD for Anne – a tradition which goes back to 1999. I choose a CD’s worth of music from the CDs I’ve bought during the year which I remembered she’d said she quite liked, and burn it for her – generally she listens to half of it on Xmas day and then it’s filed away...

Anne prefers telly or radio to CDs...

Listened back to 2006 and 2005 after finalising 2007...

Around mid-day we headed round to Jane and Bobby’s where preparations for Xmas Day are not in full swing as suspected – as wee Kitty has a sick bug...

We dropped off a couple of bottles of Champagne and then headed on to Anne’s brother Keith’s – we had the drill and tool box in tow as Keith’s partner’s daughter, Rebecca, needed a shelf to be put up over her bed – and I was just the man to do it...

Here’re the before...



...and after...



...pics...

Just after 2, a delicious late lunch beckoned at Vittorio’s on Leith Walk – while my tagliatelle was mouth-meltingly tasty, I made a mental note on Anne’s recommendation, to try the cannelloni next time, should there be one...

Back home we caught up on some video’d TV – a couple of very funny episodes of Jack Dee’s “Lead Balloon”...

And a wee black and white cat came to visit – but not the notorious Black and White Cat with the Bell – unless it’s lost its bell....



In the evening I had the idea of proving to Jane, Bobby, Keith and Maureen that, although they think I’m mad for buying so many CDs and spending so much time listening to music, I actually have similar tastes to each of them....

To do this, I compiled a disc for each of them containing tracks from my CD haul of 2007 – Keith’s is mostly hard-core jazz, Maureen’s is a cross of easier on the ear jazz plus some singer-songwriter stuff, Bobby’s is a mixture of alt.country , punk and oldies while Jane’s is almost completely mainstream but with a couple of things thrown in she’ll never have heard of before...

Finished Keith and Maureen’s (see playlist) tonight before “Match of the Day 2” and then bed...

Highlight of the Day : Lunch with Anne at Vittorio’s

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sparkle...

Playlist
Family - Bandstand
Various – Jukebox - Shuffleplay

Slept late – very late – 11am even...

Felt terrible..

Anne went over to Fife to watch Arsenal v Spurs with some workmates and then from there straight to Tynecastle to watch Hearts lose again – this time 3-2 to Inverness – Hearts equalised at 2-2 in the last minute and then lost a third goal having had their goalkeeper sent off earlier. Anne’s mood post match was the worst I’ve ever seen. She didn’t seem too chuffed with my opining that “it’s only a game”...

To cap it all, Queens lost as well, 2-0 away to Dr Prog’s beloved Dunfermline Athletic...

I wrapped presents while Anne was out...



...and I also had to do some work on our present for my mum, which we’ll give her when she and Pam come round again on Boxing Day evening for a slap up meal...

In the evening, Anne watched “Strictly” (Aleesha won the final apparently) – while I went back to bed around 8 – absolutely washed out...

But up again at 11 feeling a wee bit better and enjoyed “Match of the Day” before retiring once again...

Highlight of the Day : Present wrapping

Friday, December 21, 2007

You make me feel like dancing...

Playlist
Dio – Killing the Dragon
Various – Jukebox Shuffleplay

A phone call yesterday afternoon amended my plans for tonight...

Anne was off out on a Xmas meal/drinks scenario and I’d been going to have a quiet night in – given that I’m not feeling 100% at present...

However, sister Pam had called and advised she and my mum would pop round “to keep me company”...

Fair enough...

I arrived home around 7:20 or so having just finished off my Xmas shopping (I thought) and they arrived around 8pm...

We ordered in some Chinese food and proceeded to watch the film “Happy Feet”...



In places very funny – in places very, very sad – all in all though, an excellent evening’s entertainment...

Pam had brought round some pics of her recent trip to Nantes and we watched them too via the DVD player – looks like a very attractive town – worth a visit at some point perhaps...

After they’d gone, I awaited the call to go and pick Anne up but it never came – instead, she had had the offer of a lift home – a good end to a good night...

Highlight of the Day : Happy Feet

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jack and Jill...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal Single Bonus Tracks
Cloudland Blue Quartet - 1997-2007 Xmas Special
Brian Eno - On Land

Not feeling great today - it seems every year I manage to catch a long, lingering cold around Xmas time...

Yesterday I handed out my "Xmas Cards"...



To my surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive - though whether I now have a whole legion of new fans, I doubt very much....

In the evening, after being made to feel miserable by walking up the hill to Crispycat Towers through the freezing fog and doing a typical "catching my death" performance, it was a quick turnaround and back down the hill again for a meet with Anne's bestest chum Lynn and her lovely man, Ross...

And so we spent the evening at the Agenda Hotel, drinking, carousing and putting the world to rights...

Anne and I got a bus back up the hill though...

And once again v little sleep due to this godforsaken cold...

Looking forward to spending some time doing nothing...

Highlight of the Day : Drinks with Lynn & Ross

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The storyteller returns..

Playlist
Grand Funk Railroad - We're An American Band
Various - DJ Dave's Party Bus Mix Vol 3

Severly hung over today...

But not before getting up at 5:50, shaving, showering, dressing (including ironing a shirt in the dark) and heading into town...

Found myself in Edinburgh at 6:40 am...

Breakfasted (Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown, Orange Juice) at McDonalds then on to Starbucks for a Hot Chocolate and respite from the biting freezing weather...

Entered the offices of "The Man" at around 7:40...

Today, another free lunch. It took place at a small Italian restaurant in Haymarket called La Bruschetta. The food was gorgeous and the wine was a-flowing...

I did not partake of the libation on offer however as, in the early evening Anne and I had to be at the airport to pick up sister Pam for her annual Xmas visit...

Drove out to my mum's where Pam, as ever, kept us entertained with her stories of wild Xmas parties and her invention of new words e.g volumptuous for voluptuous...

Best was her 40 minute rendition of her having took look after a party of Germans who were over for a few days to carry out an audit on the company for which she works...

It sounded like a trip to the London Eye and Leicester Square in the company of Kaftwerk...



Home around 11 feeling very, very tired...

Hardly any sleep in the night due to annoying ongoing cold symptoms which might well be removed by a couple of days in bed instead of partying about in the freezing cold...

Highlight of the Day : The stories of Pam

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Treadmills and hindsight...

Playlist
Ok Go - Ok Go
Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental

Physio first thing - painful but good painful...

Out drinking in the evening - for it to be free I had to meet up with drinking buddies in the dreaded Tigerlily. Got in ok as no one was manning the door when I arrived and all went well for around 2.5 hours until I went for a pee at what proved to be exactly the same time as the man on door security with the photographic memory of my face...

And so I was ejected, but not before I'd been fully compensated for my latest drink, which I'd not been able to partake of and which I hadn't actually paid for...

The bar then proceeded to lose the custom of around 20 people, including four young men from England whom I'd never met before who also walked out in protest...

The rest of the evening was spent in the bar over the road where I became progressively more drunk, leaving around 11 and arriving home in a rather sorry state, via the chippy, at around midnight...

Great at the time but, in hindsight...

Listening today to the wonderful Pet Shop Boys and excellent Chicago power-pop band OK Go...



OK Go's video for "Here It Goes Again" is "that famous one from Youtube with the treadmill dance thing" which has now been viewed almost 27 million times...

Here's another one of them dancing...

Oh and a big happy birthday to my old school chum Rory (not Roy) MacCrae...

Highlight of the Day : Getting home in one piece

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pride comes before a fall...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - 1997-2007 Xmas Special
John Surman - Glancing Backwards (3CD)

Re "The Man" - I am listening to a new 11 song composition which I have compiled to give as a Xmas card to my fellow workers, almost none of whom have heard my music or have seen me play...

It is with some measure of trepidation then that I will hand these out this week...

Anne reckons it's egomaniacal nonsense - I think it may well be hubris, as they come back to me to advise it's all just crap...

Phoned the doc in an attempt to procure more painkillers - we'll see what happens...

Also, re "The Man", today I popped into HMV and used my token from the Secret Santa dip to help with the purchase of a three disc compilation containing four albums from the early 70's by British Jazz saxophonist, John Surman - and cracking stuff it is too...



Other than listening to that (at one point whilst washing the dishes), I also partook of an hour of "Coronation St", "University Challenge" (your correspondent was "on fire" for the first half, much to Anne's chagrin, then tailed off into oblivion) and, finally, "Live at the Apollo"...

A typical Monday night these days...

Highlight of the Day : John Surman's jazz noise

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The return of Jack Frost...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – 1997-2007
Clouldand Blue Quartet – Anthology 1977-2007 : Songs & Sounds
David Bowie – Sound & Vision : The Rarities
Esbjorn Svensson Trio – Tuesday Wonderland
Miles Davis – The Complete Cellar Door Sessions
Glenn Gould – At the Cinema
Silver Machines – Ten Silver Drops
Various – 21st Century Disco
Various – DJ Dave’s Party Bus Mixes Vol 2
Rheostatics – Live Rarities
Various - Freaky jazz downloads from "Destination Out"

To bed last night around 2:30 after getting the call at 2am to pick Anne up...

She had a good time, so that’s the main thing...

I couldn’t sleep due to pain in the arm and this goddam continuing cold...

Consequently, up at 7am and listened to the instrumental disc of the upcoming anthology, then burned some albums from the hard drive to CD – I have over 50 on there ready to go...

Initially, David Bowie – all the rare tracks from the 4 disc “Sound & Vision” reissue then, last year's album from EST, “Tuesday Wonderland”, which I listened to as I ventured out into the frost...



...and drove to Patisserie Florentin....



.....for a selection of croissants....



By this time it was around ten but even this fine array of yummy goodies was not enough to get Anne to waken up and she didn’t surface till midday...

In the afternoon, a glorious win for Inverness 3-2 over Celtic having been 2-0 down. Anne didn’t like this, as it meant Inverness leapfrogging Hearts in the table and Hearts must play them next week...

I, however, enjoy any defeat of Celtic...

I blame it on my upbringing...

Later to Anne’s mum’s for the family tea and young Ollie was devastated as the Blue Peter presenter lost out on “Strictly Come Dancing”...

Then, “Coronation St” then home for Anne to watch “Cranford” while I did this and listened to more music...

Ended the Sunday with the usual “Match of the Day 2”...

I am nothing if not a creature of habit...

Highlight of the Day : Early morning grooving to Miles Davis and the EST

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shopping for toys...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – 1997-2007
Chris Rea – Best of
Deep Purple – Shades of Deep Purple
Lucy Kaplansky – Best of (2CD-R)
Eagles - Long Road Out of Eden
Grand Funk Railroad – What’s Funk
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Harmonia – Live 1974

Up at 8 and off after breakfast into town...

Dropped Anne off at the Beauty Parlour thingy around 10 and went to purchase some blank CDs to replenish my supplies..

200 White Top Printable for ongoing Crispycat Product and 100 Silver Tops for everyday use...

Also bought a USB 2.0 hub which will turn one port into seven allowing me to plug even more stuff into the PC – and another super wee present for Anne which I can’t divulge here of course...

Picked Anne up an hour later – sister-in-law Jane was there too – niece Kitty had missed ballet this morning due to a cold but was nevertheless off to the deer farm in Cupar with her brother and Grandmother this afternoon...

To Corstorphine, a trip round the shops there – mostly charity shops – not great – then the local baker for luncheon supplies...

I laid a bet on Stirling Albion to beat Queen of the South this afternoon – the old reverse psychology (in the event Queens ran out 3-1 winners away from home, as I knew they would – I have seldom won any bets in my life)...

Back home, Anne put up the Xmas decorations which I’d fetched from the loft...





While Meg the Black Cat took a shine to the box we keep the decorations in for 11 months of the year...



Compiled a Lucy Kaplansky best of after last night and found Sam Baker’s two albums on e-bay from an American Store for a total cost of around £12...

All the while I monitored the footie on the BBC site as usual – Hearts lost away at Rangers 2-1 after a valiant effort and a terrible goalkeeping blunder (by their third choice keeper) with just a couple of minutes to go – Anne was understandably “raging”...

Read through my linked blogs etc and found the last two grand Funk albums I don’t have...

A weird coincidence as, tonight, Anne is off out with her best friend Lynn and Lynn’s sisters and friends – on the day of their Xmas “do” last year I also downloaded a couple of Grand Funk albums...

Took Anne and Lynn into town and returned to watch “Robin Hood” – seems to be improving every week though we surely can’t be far now from the end of the series...

Spent the evening listening to Krautrock, Grand Funk, Deep Purple and the Eagles while burning and printing CBQ discs, folding covers, etc etc, and waiting Anne’s call to bring the girls back home...

Just for the record - very sore arm yesterday and today....

Highlight of the Day : Shopping for toys

Friday, December 14, 2007

My kingdom for some toast...

Playlist
Various – 85 Classic Prog albums on Shuffleplay
Lucy Kaplansky – The Tide
Lucy Kaplansky – Flesh and Bone
Lucy Kaplansky – Ten Year Night
Lucy Kaplansky – Every Single Day
Lucy Kaplansky – The Red Thread
Lucy Kaplansky – Over the Hills
Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden

Big excitement at the home of “The Man” today as tonight was Xmas Party night...

In the afternoon, the Secret Santa dip produced a Gift Token for HMV for your correspondent after I’d sent an e-mail round pleading not to be awarded either chocolate flavoured or indeed, talking breasts this year...

I jumped at the opportunity of a lift home from colleague, Raymondo...

He stopped by for a chat before changing into his glad-rags for the evening and heading to the nearby hotel which was to be the venue for this year’s shenanigans...

The party was a no-go for me though, as the Exec Producer and I had a date with Ms Lucy Kaplansky over at the Pleasance Theatre on the other side of town...

Our evening’s entertainment was threatened by what appeared to be a migraine for Anne but she fought through it gallantly and, at 7:30, we stood in the queue along with a couple of hundred others awaiting entry to the Kaplansky gig...

We looked so “normal” amongst the gathered throng that we felt “weird” – a stranger bunch of social misfits than that which makes up the audience of long-running alt.country promoters, Lonesome Cowboy’s nights, would be difficult to find – in particular we were sat next to a seeming ADHD sufferer who made it hard for me to concentrate on Ms Kaplansky’s excellent performance...

She was preceded by Texan Sam Baker to whom we warmed through the course of his set. Reminiscent to me of Lou Reed in his vocal delivery and with a sparse acoustic accompaniment to his almost spoken-word, stream of consciousness lyrics, I am now tempted to search out his CDs...

Lucy Kaplansky was the star though – with the most beautiful versions of “Loch Lomond” (beating Runrig et al into a cocked hat) and “White Christmas” (ditto the Bingster) I’ve ever heard...



Drawing mainly on her last four albums, with a smattering of well chosen covers, including her dad’s acapella piece “Song of Pi”, the whole performance was a delight – and she ended the night with the song about her father from her latest album (“Today’s the Day” from “Over the Hills”) which, I must advise, is one of a very few of the millions of songs I must have heard in my lifetime, which can make me break down and cry...

Then, from the sublime to the ridiculous...

Our plan had been to dine out prior to the show, but Anne’s migraine like condition had put paid to that and, by the time we left the theatre, it was already around 11:30 and too late for a meal...

So we found ourselves in Tesco, just before midnight, shopping for bread to provide us with a couple of slices of toast...

We ended up buying two loaves of bread (including a delicious traditional Irish Wheaten loaf), butter, four boxes of After Eights (don’t ask!), a bottle of skin moisturiser, the Xmas/New Year Radio Times and, erm, the new 2CD by the Eagles...

The irony was that, when we returned home, we found we already had enough bread in the house for toast...

Oh well...

Off to bed contented...

Highlight of the Day : Lucy Kaplansky

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Freebie...

Playlist
Prog Shuffleplay:-
Pink Floyd - Discography
King Crimson - Discography
Yes - Discography
Genesis - Discography
Gentle Giant - Discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Discography

Out tonight for what appears to be a possibly annual free curry – since I also attended last year and was pleased to accept an invite for tonight...

A large company with roots in Scandanavia and South Africa footed the bill...

And very tasty the evening’s fayre was too – poppadoms with spiced onions, mushroom puri, lamb jaipuri with rice, nan and potato side dish...



...and several pints of Cobra lager...

The very dab...

The one downside was the fifty minute journey home (probably 10 had I not been drinking and had the car with me) as I walked through wind and rain from Bruntsfield down to the West End where the automated bus stop advised a 20 minute wait for the next bus to Crispycat Towers – so I jumped on an Airport Bus and walked up the hill arriving home frozen yet sweating...

Finished off the evening with the last “Question Time” and “This Week” of 2007...

Highlight of the Day : Free Curry

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not long now...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – 1997-2007
Norman Lamont – For Kyle (give this a listen, it's excellent)
Dream Theater – Live Scenes From New York
Art Blakey Quintet – One Night at Birdland Vol 1

The Christmas feeling continued today as more presents for Anne accrued in the “secret place” in the back room...

Undoubtedly there are things in this stash which will be opened, looked at, declared to be good but then promptly start to gather dust somewhere in Crispycat Towers, perhaps to be stumbled upon again at some point in the far off future...

In the evening, after “Coronation St” and while Anne watched Gok Wan and listened to Rangers exit the Champions’ League, I did some mucking about on Excel while listening to Dream Theater live in NY in 2001 – what a band – what musicianship...



Just ever so slightly better than The White Stripes...

Finished off with the newest addition to the collection by Art Blakey...

Then on TV, the Pink Floyd story – never great musicians any of them, but their ideas were what counted most and they knock much of what’s followed since into a cocked hat...

Highlight of the Day : Xmas Shopping for the Executive Producer..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

That time of year...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Callingstill
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Doveloveshawk
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ampersand
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Anotherhappyday
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Deeperdown
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Ersatzreal
Cloudland Blue Quartet – 1997-2007

Listening to me again today...

If I don’t, no-one else will...

Xmas shopping again and stopped by the German Market off Princes St and enjoyed a marinated pork steak type thing on a roll with German mustard...

V tasty...

I’ve not mentioned it before I think but I’m now a regular viewer of “The One Show” on BBC1 at 7pm of an evening...

It passes the time...

Accidentally missed James and Oz’ big wine adventure but caught the now regular “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”...

Compiled a CD with one song from each year between 1997 and 2007 then listened to it whilst making up a home-made Christmas card...



Merry Xmas to anyone popping by...

Highlight of the Day : My music..

Monday, December 10, 2007

Every night, before I sleep...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Callingstill
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Doveloveshawk
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ampersand
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Anotherhappyday
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Deeperdown
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Ersatzreal
Peter Gabriel – Play (DVD)
Girls Aloud – Chemistry Bonus Xmas Album
Yes – Yessongs
Dexter Gordon – One Flight Up

Listening to me today – my song output over the last decade...

To FOPP at lunchtime whilst Xmas shopping and I went a wee bit mad...

Started with finding the special edition of Girls Aloud’s “Chemistry” album from 2005 for a fiver – it has an 8 song bonus EP including their versions of Xmas classics by Slade and Wizzard – you know the ones I mean...


Then two live albums – the first was the re-mastered version of Yes’ 1973 triple No 1 album “Yessongs”, the second was a 3CD set of Dream Theater live in New York back in 2001 – again a fiver each...

Upstairs, in the jazz section, I grabbed two £3 Blue Notes – Art Blakey Quintet’s “A Night at Birdland Vol 1” and Dexter Gordon’s “One Flight Up”...

Tasty...

And, finally, for eight quid a Peter Gabriel DVD with around twenty promotional videos plus extras...

A few history books were snaffled too, joining the pile of unread stuff back at Crispycat Towers...

Of course, it wasn’t all just self satisfaction and some actual Xmas presents were bought too...

Back home, my annual Xmas cold was taking its toll and I fell asleep watching Gabriel while Anne kept fit. Consequently I was castigated for not igniting the oven at eight...

Two episodes of “Coronation St” and Joan Rivers and Patrick Kielty starred in “Live at the Apollo” before I fell asleep again watching Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Gardens in 1973...

Woke around 2 and stumbled off to bed...

Highlight of the Day : FOPP frenzy...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

We rock....

Playlist
Ronnie James Dio – Rainbow, Black Sabbath & Dio Albums
Tangerine Dream – Live 1968-75
Deep Purple – Entire Discography 1968-2005
Jon Hassell – Dream Theory in Malaya
Hawkwind – Various Albums
Isaac Hayes - Shaft
Isaac Hayes – Black Moses
Eva Cassidy - Songbird/Imagine
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Anthology 1977-2007 : Songs & Sounds
Earth Wind & Fire – The Ultimate Collection
Harmonia – Harmonia Deluxe

Up at 6 – listening to everything I have by Ronnie James Dio – a truly superb collection of heavy metal recordings – he is, for me, the greatest HM vocalist...

Updated the diary whilst copying artists beginning with “H” for the jukebox...

Then downloaded some “new” music – some early Tangerine Dream and (over the day) the entire Deep Purple catalogue – I recall in the early 70’s, when my sole Deep Purple record was a 7” of “Fireball/Demon’s Eye”, looking at their albums in my mum’s Kay’s Catalogue and thinking about buying “In Rock”, “Fireball”, “Machine Head” and “Who Do We Think We Are” – of course I never did...

Found a site that tells you who all the people are on the Sgt Pepper cover – Stockhausen’s there, back row, fifth from the left, just behind W C Fields...



Copied half the “H” CDs to the Jukebox then out to Café Citron at 11 for breakfast – great bacon rolls – lashings of brown sauce...

Back home and we listened to some Eva Cassidy at Anne’s request before watching a Jack Dee DVD followed by Middlesborough v Arsenal for Anne while I continued downloading – including Earth Wind & Fire...

“Robin Hood” on tape from last night followed by the Iranain comic (whose name eludes me as I type) then more downloading – German band with Cluster/Neu! Roots, Harmonia – tasty...

After pizzas, while Anne surfed I watched two episodes of “That 70’s Show” on Virgin 1 – seems a reasonable cable channel...

Then added some new links and wrote this prior to “Match of the Day 2”...

Highlight of the Day : Finally getting those Deep Purple albums...