Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Till death us do part

Though a little non-PC today, Warren Mitchell's character as Alf Garnett in Till death us do part is still great comedy.

Alf Garnett on the British Empire
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Late night music - Beth Orton

I love this song, it resonates with me somehow. The original (and best) version is here:

Beth Orton - Stolen Car

but it's embed disabled. Click the link or watch her live at Glastonbury; where she makes a big booboo in the middle :)

Beth Orton - Stolen Car live @ Glastonbury '99
Grow into these trousers... >>

Wicked illusion

Do NOT try this if you suffer from epilepsy or any strobe-light induced disorientation or nausia!

If you've done acid or mushrooms it's a doddle :)

  1. Go to this link

  2. Stare at the moving pattern for ½ a min

  3. Look at your hands

Via the Bad Astronomer, from Richard Wiseman on Twitter (whatever that is). Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 28 September 2009

Beware of stealth cat

Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!

Via Cosmic Variance. Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 27 September 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"... nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous -- indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose".

Clinton Richard Dawkins (b. 1941)

From River Out of Eden (1995) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Wild Horses

A while ago Duncanr of Madhatters posted a version of the Rolling Stones' Wild Horses by BGT favourite Susan Boyle. Much as I like Susan's voice and her personality, which comes over as being down to earth and genuine, this is not the song for her. The arrangement is utterly wrong, piano it too prominent and too jarring and the cheap strings sound false. Overall it's too sweetly sung for me and I feel Susan doesn't connect with the song. She sings it too ... nicely... when it should have some grit.

You are welcome to compare, here are the Stones being sweet:

Rolling Stones - Wild Horses [3:02]
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The wise master speaks

Abstruse Goose hits the spot again :)

Click the image to see why.

Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

In praise of Chas 'n' Dave

Dave has announced his retirement (best of luck) so here's Chas & Dave at their best:

Chas + Dave-The Sideboard Song
Grow into these trousers... >>

Remove radioactive dirt 2½ times better

Here's one for nursemyra, if she's surviving the dust storms in Australia (and the post Rapture tribulation).

OK, take some everyday dirt and make it "radioactive" (OMFSM, I shudder to think what isotope). Now apply it to a young lady's face and clean it off with different soaps, cleansing and cold creams.

Take measurements with a Geiger counter which ticks at a constant rate.

Announce the efficacy of your product to the world! It's easy...

Shocking 1950's Commercial! [1:34]

via the all knowing Orac. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Your music homework

Learn this piece for a recital in the morning:

Faeire's Aire and Death Waltz
(from "A Tribute to Zdenko G. Fibich")
Words and music by John Stump - Arranged by Accident

Peanuts from Clinton's, cattle provided by Farmer Bull. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 21 September 2009

Late night music

Annie Lennox- Why [5:22]
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A true prophet speaks

Well, he sings... But his song is as true now as the day it was written.

Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall Live 1971 [6:07]

Bonus track: I sent this to my ex when we split up, evil bugger
as I am...

It's all over now baby blue [4:15]
Grow into these trousers... >>

With friends like this who needs...?

My eyes are still watering - with laughing.

Blindfolded and Tricked [0:43]
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under those lights."

Muhammad Ali (b.1942) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 19 September 2009

I just fancied listening to this song

Then I found the entertainment police at YouTube had deleted the links I'd posted last year. Oh well, I just had to find them again.

The awesome Pretenders. Don't you just love Chrissie Hynde?

The Pretenders - Night In My Veins (live) [3:39]

The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket [3:06]

The Pretenders.- Back on the chain gang [3:39]

Bonus track :)
Pretenders - Talk of the town (Live '08) [3:20]
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 18 September 2009

I was going to post a really good video

But there was a bug in it:

Grow into these trousers... >>

Another silly site to keep an eye on

Animals with lightsabers:


Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 17 September 2009


My thoughts are with Mary Travers (November 9, 1936 – September 16, 2009)...

puff the magic dragon (live)
Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A zoom-in view of the cosmos

The Universe [3:32]

Posted today by GrrlScientist.

Now, go vote for her to be the official Quark Expeditions blogger on a trip to Antarctica. I've mentioned this before.

If you haven't voted yet, well go do it.
The world's birdlife is telling you to:

even the Digital Cuttlefish gives it's endorsement. Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 13 September 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things".

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 12 September 2009

No, no regrets

I listened to a Radio 4 programme this afternoon about the song The Look of Love (3 days left to listen). The song is well known from the 1967 James Bond film Casino Royale; but somehow, as cool as Dusty Springfield's version was, there is an underlying laidbackness to 'The Look of Love' which even Dusty fell short of. I remember a much better version in French, and I don't think it was Mireille Mathieu either, who is oft cited online. I have a memory of the song much slower, a deep woman's voice, breathy, quiet and sensual. I can't find it online, but then I thought of Édith Piaf.

Sadly Édith had left the stage before 'The Look of Love' was even written, so I was wrong there, but then I found this timeless gem:

Edith Piaf - Non, je ne regrette rien (1961)

To compare, the studio version is here. Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 11 September 2009

Classic comedy - Tommy Cooper

Have a laugh with me to a master comedian and skilled magician, Tommy Cooper.

Tommy Cooper - Spoon / Jar

More magic below the belt.

Tommy Cooper "Magic Cloak"

Tommy Cooper - slow motion

Tommy Cooper - The "Hats" Sketch
Grow into these trousers... >>

Gordon Brown apologises for past treatment of gays.

Hot on the heels of my earlier post, The Prime Minister has issued an apology to Alan Turing and countless other gays victimised by the backward laws of the last century.
"Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction".

"I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue".
Long overdue, but welcome. Read the full statement here. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A bit of music

Or poetry set to music, I like early James.

James - Sometimes
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A call for an apology to Alan Turing

In 1952, World War II code-breaking hero and the father of computing Alan Turing was convicted of that most heinous of crimes, being born a homosexual.

Following Turing's prosecution he was further humiliated by having his security privileges withdrawn and by being chemically castrated, then an experimental "treatment", for his non-existent illness. Turing committed suicide in 1954.

There is an online petition to the Prime Minister calling for an apology to Turing and a posthumous pardon. There are currently 30,327 signatories, including myself. The petition reads:
"Alan Turing was the greatest computer scientist ever born in Britain. He laid the foundations of computing, helped break the Nazi Enigma code and told us how to tell whether a machine could think.

He was also gay. He was prosecuted for being gay, chemically castrated as a 'cure', and took his own life, aged 41.

The British Government should apologize to Alan Turing for his treatment and recognize that his work created much of the world we live in and saved us from Nazi Germany. And an apology would recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man's life and career".
Please take a moment to go and sign the petition and reflect on Turing's impact on our modern world. That man should have had a knighthood at least, not persecution. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 7 September 2009

The best excuse ever?

As if anybody needs one...

Billy Connolly ~ Masturbation
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 6 September 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The times they are a changing

Some folks may have noticed that I've been a bit quiet recently. There has been a lot on my mind, much thinking and planning. I have heard a wind blowing for a long time, and I listened to it's whispers. It has given good advice. Times for me are going to change. Don't worry, it's nothing bad. I welcome this as a rare opportunity.

I am going to take voluntary redundancy from work, and retire.

Scorpions - Wind Of Change

There are many reasons for my decision. The Faculty of Biology at Leeds Uni is in serious debt, over six million pounds and set to rise to twenty million over the next few years. Even though I have been assured my job is safe, it would change beyond recognition in the restructuring and I will not be a pawn, a bargaining chip, between different departments. Finance/purchasing apparently want me. They can fuck themselves.

I worked for more than 30 years in biochemical research before moving into IT, mainly because my heart and my interests drew me there but also because of the sit down nature of the job. My health has been in decline over the last 6 to 8 years and has plummeted over the last 9 months. Why stick it out only to be in a position I don't want and still face possible compulsory redundancy in the near future?

Everyone I have spoken to (unofficially) tells me I would be crazy not to accept the generous payout, officially of course it is up to me to decide. I have decided. I intend to enjoy whatever time I have left. Look for me: you will find me in my garden or in the kitchen, cooking and making homebrew from the fruits and flowers of the local fields and hedgerows. At last I may have time to fully explore this 'music' thing which has obsessed me all my life.

I finish work at the end of October. It will be with a heavy heart for good times past, a sigh, a smile and then WOOHOO!!!!! Grow into these trousers... >>

Late night music - John Martyn

Yes it is late, but this song was irresistible. I loved the late John Martyn.

John Martyn Live - John Wayne
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Doh - been tagged

Thank you duncanr (sigh). OK, I'm game...

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4. –
"-bers's mentor, W.P. Ker, though likening Beowulf in"
(introduction to 'Beowulf, a verse translation by Michael Alexander').

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & catch _____ – Empty air, but about as far again is a hi-fi speaker.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? – I don't have a TV but I did watch some of the last Test Match, one teatime in the pub.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is? – 11:15am

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time? – 11:01am. I'm running fast today.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? – Nothing but the wall clock ticking.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? – Last Tuesday, going to the shops (I've had a stinking cold).

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at? – Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog.

9. What are you wearing? – Jeans and a black shirt.

10. When did you last laugh? – Last night, listening to George Hrab's podcast.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in? - A poster of Jim Morrison, a watercolour (copy) of a butterfly perched on some suspicious looking mushrooms and a copy of William Blake's 'The Ancient of Days' above the fireplace. Oh, and a clock.

12. Seen anything weird lately? – The blackberries have seemed to ripen very early this year.

13. What do you think of this quiz? – A bit of fun.

14. What is the last film you saw? – On DVD: 'The Return of the King', extended edition, disc 1. In the cinema: 'The Fellowship of the Ring', when it first came out. I must get out more :)

15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what’s the first thing you would do? – Build a large, heated, conservatory.

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno! – In my late teens I was in a ballroom dancing team for the North of England.

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do? – Uninvent weapons of warfare.

18. Do you like to Dance? - Used to (see 16), but I'm nowhere near fit and supple enough any more.

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? – Hallucinogenica Moonray.

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him? – John.

21. Would you ever consider living abroad? – No. It's fine to visit but I like home.

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates? – He can begin with an explanation, and it had better be a bloody good one.

23. What time is it now? - 12:44pm, after editing and making mackerel on toast.

Now I'm supposed to tag someone else. Well I would like to tag whoever gave me this cold - with a large staple gun to the nostrils. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Let It Snow

Well I've had another ace weekend... It rained, the beer was crap and now I've got a cold.

But it was fantabulous!!! On Sunday we were at a charity gala day and we were playing late evening, outside, on Simon's mobile stage again. There were tombolas and raffles, bouncy castles for the kids and good food and everything: even a shove ha'penny stall for bottles of wine (shove pound coin really). A day full of fun, music and the utter enthusiasm of Yorkshirefolk. "It's nowt but a bit 'o rain". I love the spirit of the people where I live. Unstoppable!

The charity we were all supporting is brilliant. Let It Snow (, it could have been 'let it rain' given the downpour today :)

What does Let It Snow do? Well, proper winter in my part of Yorkshire is not so deep and cold as I remember from my own childhood. It's more damp and miserable than crystal cold frost and two feet of snow. So the charity takes the snow to the kids, tons and tons of it, to make chutes and slides and snowmen and igloos and have snowball fights and everything else, and there's a visit from Santa.

It's all for children in hospices, when they may never see a true winter or even see the next spring. I'm proud to be able to contribute in my humble way.

Bonus: I am usually the last to get photos and stuff from when the band plays, but not this time. My good friend 'The Gypsy' videoed our set, and I've just done a rough edit. I can't get the aspect ratio right though, YouTube squashes us, but ne'er mind.

ABandinurHead - Honkey Tonk Women - with umbrellas
Grow into these trousers... >>