By St0rmz ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s always time for a Tuba Smarties

Sky. It was the name of a supergroup from the late 70s early 80s if my memory serves me well. Long before any TV channel hijacked that name in the UK.

By St0rmz ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By St0rmz ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I found this video of Tuba Smarties played by Herbie Flowers. It brought back so many memories because I played it for my music O Level practical examination. The music teacher thought I was slightly mad when I said what tune I wanted to play on the E Tuba. His suspicions may have been confirmed when I turned up to the recording in full on Gnome outfit as per the great Mr Flowers himself. Well, I did have to get into character to play it.

Bass guitar, as well as the lower brass sections, are often overlooked, whether you are playing in an ensemble or full band, so I am very grateful that Herbie Flowers created this track to allow these instruments to come to the fore for once.

However, my two great failings in life are never having learned to the play the piano, or master Cavatina (as played so wonderfully by John Williams from Sky) on the nylon strung guitar. There’s still time though. 🙂


Mercedes Benz

Squabbling for territory

Today the UK formally triggered Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the European Union.

I know, if you have been anywhere near a TV you will be well aware of that.

However, the London-centric media still seems to be fighting last year’s referendum with its scare-mongering.

Like a petulant child, the EU Commission has blocked a merger between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse. Not entirely unexpected.

One particular article seized upon how the German Chancellor said future trade deal negotiations would have to wait until after the exit deal was negotiated. This is clearly a negotiating ploy, as you cannot have the former, without the latter also being in place.

How will she explain to the Chief Executives of companies like Mercedez, VW, Audi and BMW they have lost access to the lucrative UK?

Vorsprung durch, oops we can’t export!

How will the French Prime Minister explain to the vineyard owners and farmers of France, they cannot ship their wines or dairy products into the UK?

It is posturing.

It is posturing by the Politicians of EU countries, but it is also posturing by the London-centric media.

Politicians on both sides of the negotiation need to expedite matters and go for a quick separation. This will return stability to their economies.

The only question I think that remains outstanding is which country will be the next to leave the European Union and perhaps that is what they are really concerned about.


Palace of Westminster London UK

UK Government response is not good enough

If I walked up to you and punched you in the stomach as hard as I could, what would you do?

Would you ignore me?

Would you say, “I don’t want to fight back because I think I am better than you”?

I very much doubt it.

Yet that is exactly the approach the UK Government are trying to persuade the general public to take following this week’s terrorist attack in Westminster.

That may be fine for those that have 24-hour armed Police protection paid out of our taxes, but what about the rest of us who don’t.

The British Public have to be allowed the tools to protect themselves.

Why? Simply because the Police cannot.

Officers on the street would like to, but in reality, we simply cannot afford to resource them to that level. It is about time senior Police Officers stopped trying to propagate this illusion of protection they cannot deliver.

It is about time senior Police Officers stopped trying to propagate this illusion of protection they cannot deliver.

The people of the UK can no longer be expected to roll-over and play helpless.

It is often said that you can judge a society on how it treats its most vulnerable members. My thoughts drift towards pensioners when that is said. Take the two examples in the table below.

Warning: Both links below lead to quite graphic articles. I have tried to use older examples to avoid upsetting anyone currently grieving. Reader discretion required.

USA Pensioner UK Pensioner
Probably one of the most famous cases. 71 year old man in an internet cafe stops armed robbery. 82 year old beaten to death and buried in back garden.

The current laws in the UK are an anachronism. We keep being told since 9/11 “the world has changed”.

That may be true, but the measures people in the UK can legally use to defend themselves and their loved ones have not.

It is time the politicians got out of their bubble and changed the law.

People in the UK should be able to legally have the equipment to lawfully defend themselves as it acts as a leveller, allowing the potential victim to fend off the aggressor. I cannot see the dullards of Parliament allowing the Police to licence, educate and train members of the public to use pistols for personal protection, no matter how effective that has been in other parts of the world.

Taking that down a level, what about the articles that are described as “less than lethal”? Pepper or CS Sprays? Electronic stun-guns? Batons?

Individuals could be licenced to carry and possess those items by the Police.

As it stands, people need to stand up to their MP and demand the Human Rights Act (1998), Schedule 1, Part 1, Article 2, Paragraph 1 is followed, which states”

Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

Making it illegal to have appropriate equipment to defend your life and the lives of others in this supposedly changed post 9/11 world, violates the above does it not?

Whilst decent people live within and uphold the law, we need to start campaigning to have the law changed.

Then again, I am just an ordinary law-abiding person, not someone with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Another great gone – RIP Chuck

The biggest tragedy is there will be generations to come of people who think Chuck refers to a computer based action comedy TV show. For me, Chuck will only ever refer to the late, great Chuck Berry.

Chuck Berry, 90, left us a great legacy in his music. He was the Godfather of Rock n Roll.

With raw energy, enthusiasm layered on top of the mastery of six strings, his music will forever be in my collection as some of the early works that inspired me to pick up a guitar myself, and inflict my noise on people. 🙂

No more words from me. Let his music be his testament.


Last night I got hit by the Hum

Last night my area got hit with a hum. A strange noise I had never heard before. It was enough to wake me up at 00:15am and lasted about half an hour.

It was a pulsating type noise, similar in sound to the first noise you hear in the video below but not as constant.

My instinct told me that it was the sound of a tunnelling machine, cutting through rock. (We have large deposits of limestone in the area.) Yet, that didn’t make sense, since there are no mine workings in the area and the population is around 30,000 people. Quite an urban environment.

I am not sure if the sound stopped or if I got used to the rhythm of the pulse and just fell back asleep.

However, today I decided to search online to see if anyone else in the community had encountered something similar.

That was when I learned about the Bristol Hum.

Also, there is a World Hum and Database Project website. So it really does appear to be a global phenomenon.

It seems that nobody has a clue what the cause of the sound is, or if they do, they are not letting on.

Have you heard the hum where you live?


Record Player

My first record

I bought my first record in 1978. Like many of my cohort, Saturday mornings used to be spent in our local branch of FW Woolworth which by then was known simply as “Woolies”.

Each week we would go in and see what the chart rankings were. Which disks had been moved up the numbered racks and which were shifted down, destined for the returns department.

If you had a bit more money you could also buy albums there and I remember one label, in particular, would do their own, sometimes distinctly second-rate, versions of the most popular songs of the day.

Having saved up some pocket money, I was finally ready to buy my first record. A 7″ vinyl disk with a single song on both sides. Wandering up to the counter, I asked for a copy of the number 4 song in the chart, handed over my money and waited for the assistant. She pulled a disk from the rack. Took it out of its sleeve. Checked both sides for any visible scratches before putting it back into the paper cover. Shook took my money and handed the disk over.

That was it. I was now a member of the music buying public. A member of the cools kids I thought. The kids who had graduated on from making camps in the local woods and riding around on our bikes.

That record turned out to be the 30th best-selling record of the year, 1978.

What was it?

Jilted John” by the band of the same name.

Yeah we knew all about the culture of cool in those days. 🙂 NOT!