Watching meteors hit the Earth is strangely relaxing

The website is one of those things that is curiously addictive, especially if you’re still off work poorly as I am and don’t have the concentration to do anything more stressful but make a cup of tea. Essentially the site monitors objects entering the Earth’s atmosphere, be it meteor, space debris or anything else so when watching the live feed, you’ll get a near constant stream of small pings as objects enter the atmosphere with the occasional larger tone as something bigger than a teaspoon hits the Earth.

Of course such a site is open season for UFO hunters and even though on the front page of the site gives a scientific reason for the ridiculously long and heavy results you sometimes get, that isn’t stopping people from believing the truth is out there.

But this is fun to watch what is essentially something burning to a cinder. It’s somewhat relaxing…


The joys of a sick day film

Ever since Friday my back has been getting worse. On Saturday I had to send some things off at the post office and it was utter agony walking, so to help I’ve taken loads of painkillers which has left me a touch of a wreck and I’ve not slept properly since Thursday. Basically unfit for travel. This is the problem with having a number of chronic conditions in that sometimes your body can’t cope with everything it’s trying to deal with and it just throws its hands in the air while you let it recover and at least become functional.

So since crawling out of bed around midday, I’ve settled on my sick day film for today. That is Terminator 2 because it doesn’t let me think too much and passes the time while letting me ignore the spasms in my spine.

As an aside it also has one of the best teaser trailers ever made.

So, what is your favourite sick day film?

Every day is napping day

In America, today is napping day. Thanks to a mixture of everything, I’m a bit of a napper.

This isn’t because I enjoy a daytime kip. I actually don’t, but it’s because the after effects of my stroke, mixed in with all the various head goblins fighting for control in my head, means that I simply just shut down for short periods of time. I’ve also been warned that I may have narcolepsy which would make a nice full house of conditions.

So on America’s national nap day I fall in line with solidarity with my American cousins, except I’d rather not be. I’d rather my brain worked normally and didn’t close down when I didn’t want it to.

RIP for the NME

After 66 years, the New Musical Express, the NME, is dead. Well, the print edition is finally dead but it will continue as a pretty awful online site that uses the name to maintain some level of brand recognition for something that to be honest should have been dragged round the back of the bins and shot in the early years of the 21st century. Though they did make Conor McNicholas editor and that kind of had the same effect.

Although McNicolas’s run as editor was to be as nice as possible, fucking awful as the paper descended into something that Heat readers would have found not to be intellectually challenging, he was fortunate to be around during what is now really a bright time for music with new American bands complementing European bands but the standard of writing in the NME by 2002 was teeth-grindingly poor. By 2005 it was unreadable and I stopped buying it after 20 years or so.

In 1985 I was 18 and was dabbling in buying the weekly music papers with a Sounds here and a Melody Maker there, but NME kept winning out over the other two because on the whole, it was better written & anyhow, I couldn’t be arsed with Heavy Metal which seemed to be the focus of the other papers. Plus the NME was openly political at a time when that was the only thing to be.

So began a habit that stretched two centuries as the NME helped develop my musical tastes as it alerted me of stuff I’d never otherwise have heard about. Which for folk born in the internet era must be a thing to try to grasp that knowledge of new music was so hard to come by as in those days it was the NME, John Peel, the odd local radio show, The Tube and whatever scraps leaked on TV.

In short, the NME was the Bible for many of us as it helped shape youth movements small and large for decades.

Everyone has a Golden Age of the paper, and for me, it’s the late 80’s spilling up to the Britpop years. Music, culture and politics all collided with the end of the 80’s giving us HIp Hop and Acid House, which gave us a well needed shot in the arm and pushed Indie music into doing wonderful, glorious things.

For a few years everything the NME showcased was turning to gold.

And in the early 90’s, the period tedious Britpop documentaries skim over as not being very interesting, the NME helped point out the fact it was an interesting time as multiple genres, and acts from anywhere could make it.

During all this time the one constant was the writing of Steven Wells who would regularly outshine colleagues who later went on to have very large mainstream success, but Wells would remain to show how a paper like NME needed someone like him who’d call something, or someone, exactly what he thought. However the paper was changing as it started jumping on the bandwagon of what came to be known as Britpop.

I cared little for the Blur versus Oasis fiasco of 1995. As it seemed false, as indeed it was a construct of record companies and the NME itself to essentially make money. Once that was over, Britpop died and a diverse vibrant UK music scene had been made dull in the NME’s image as it tried to remain relevant as it approached the 21st century and the looming threat of this new thingy called the ”internet”.

But I was reading the paper more so out of habit. Sure, sometimes it hit gold  but the sense was that the 21st century brought it decline as articles would be 300 or so words attached to big pictures.

Then around 2005, after that year’s Glastonbury, I bought the review issue. Read it. Put it in a box and I’ve never bought an issue since. Sure, I’ve read it be it on a train, or in a pub or club as a copy someone had left behind but five minutes reading at best. Back in the 80’s I’d take an hour, sometimes two or three if it was a Christmas double issue, to wade through it.

And now in 2018 it dies as a print publication. The website is dreadful, and there’s dozens of great sites that cover new music, but this all said there’s something terribly sad about the NME finally ending. If it’d been done right it could have still been here to lead new generations, but it becomes history and memories and that I suppose is all we have left in the end.

Still Life

I start by making an admission. Until fairly recently I had no idea what anxiety was like then a couple of years back I ducked dying a few times and since I’ve been introduced to the joys of being anxious. I don’t mean anxious as in ‘when’s that bloody pizza I ordered coming‘ but anxious as in ‘every muscle I have is tense and my brain feels like it is about to explode inside my skull, but fuck, I can’t let this show‘.

To an extent I can manage it or at the very least, keep it held back to the point I’m not breaking down like the heroine of a 1960’s romance comic.

This is all being brought up as right now my anxiety is in overdrive and I have no sensible way to get out of this level of anxiety without at some point without failing and/or letting someone down which means that’ll develop into another kick in the guts as things feel like I’m being driven off the edge of a cliff over and over but I never hit the bottom. It is, as one would imagine, a horrible feeling.

So there’s a bit of a Gordian Knot to solve. I need life to be still but it isn’t. You don’t get what you want.

And here’s another thing; should you be sitting there sneering at the idea of folk suffering from anxiety imagine that few minutes you feel like before you’re violently sick, but all the fucking time, and oh, you never end up throwing up which will at least let the feeling past. On top of that someone is kicking the shit out the inside of your head and you never, ever feel like you’ll be able to think clearly.

How this will pan out I have no idea, but I think the one thing that is becoming clear is that I can’t go on with this sort of rollercoaster as frankly, I have very little wriggle room with my health these days, so for now it’s a case of popping some blue pills and hoping things get better.

Snowmageddon Strikes!

It is snowing in Glasgow. It has been snowing in Glasgow for hours and hours and hours.It is also cold, oh so very, very cold. Apparently with the wind we’re looking at -10 in places, including my hallway which isn’t full of the cosy, warm heat of my living room.

Now if you’re reading this from say, Canada, you’ll be pissing yourself laughing at our idea of heavy snow but we’re not used to this in terms of severity.I  think the worst is being caught in a flurry of snow and being blinded by the snow getting in every orifice. Ah, the joys of winter…

It is deep out there. A level of deep where a slip means you could vanish into a snowdrift til your frozen corpse is found in the spring.

So with the snow falling the city comes to a halt as it waits for it to stop and things to actually feel like spring!

And it’s still snowing…

The Old Grey Whistle Test revival was a remider as to why Punk needed to happen

Last Friday BBC Four broadcast a live Old Grey Whistle Test one-off revival show with Bob Harris presenting. Within five minutes I remembered why I hated the programme til it dropped endless sessions with Santana or Yes and started to bring on new Punk or early electronic music to give the programme a jolt of life because to be blunt, the show was mainly fucking tedious for much of it’s life, and when it did have something with a bit of balls it was sneered at.

When growing up the sound of Bob Harris used to fill me with dread because he may introduce Bowie or Marley (and lets not talk about how little the programme supported black artists) one minute.

We might even be luck and get a bit of Roxy Music weirdness.

But most of the time it was endless plains of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Emerson Lake and Palmer and endless Bob Harris whispering at you like that weird guy you’d later meet at Glastonbury in 1992 talking about that time he saw Lindisfarne in 1973.

Then at some point the BBC realised the programme needed dragged into the present, brought in Annie Nightingale and started giving more and more Punk and new bands a chance.

Most of all the programme on the whole stopped speaking down to kids like me who gave zero fucks about how long it took to record one guitar solo when I wanted to hear stuff that was exciting and felt alive. By the mid 80’s it was essential telly for things like this wonderful Jesus and Mary Chain performance

For a generation the show wasn’t tired old men talking earnestly about rock music but it returns with this version of the show that reminds me of being bored, annoyed and fed up wishing something exciting would happen but it’s time has past and it should remain locked in the cupboard.

So please don’t bring it back. The last thing we want to do is expose a new generation to Bob Harris talking about Dire Straits.