Archives for category: Music

..which is apparently what the kids all shout out when they hear some banging good musicality, innit.  I’ll come back to this in a mo.

First of all, the goings on in the Hundred Acre Wood. Winnie and I seem to have done a rather sterling job of things this week, given what was asked of us and the amount of time available to us to do it. We’ve packed up the picnic basket and shipped it off for our cousins to look at. I’ve even included my “special pen” just to stop Winnie trying to sneak a look at it over my shoulder every time I have to write something down.


Right then, now, onto my subject for today… Music! and to be more specific, two particular tracks. Music is a big love of mine that I never really pay enough attention to, but a feed I follow reminds me of the good stuff every now and again. In particular I do enjoy a good mashup.  For those of you that are wondering what that is, well I’d recommend you listen to Granny Teller who can explain it all to you:

But if that’s too much for you, then the short explanation is two songs, stuck together to make a new one.

Regular readers will be aware that I’m a child of the 70’s and youth of the 80’s and 90’s, meaning some pieces of music are so engrained in my soul, that I can’t imagine what the world would sound like without them.  One of those songs is a club track “Show Me Love” by Robin S.

It’s an iconic track, that was playing in literally every nightclub I ever went in for about 20 years.  In fact, I think it probably still gets plenty of playtime even today. It’s a huge dance anthem.  I spent many a long hour in clubs in various parts of the country throughout the end of the 90’s, making up for lost time from the start of that decade and this song is a big part of that time.

Nowadays of course I’m a little longer in the tooth and while I still love this stuff, it’s not on the top of my playlist. In recent months I’ve been keeping my eye on up and coming UK artists and some slightly lighter tunes.  One of those artists who is standing head and shoulders above the rest is Adele.  Man, that girl can sing. At 23, she’s storming the UK Music scene and now the US, a market that’s notoriously hard for British acts to get into.

Her first single (Hometown Glory) appeared in 2007, but it was her 2008 release (Chasing Pavements) that really got her noticed.  Last year’s single “Rolling in the Deep” is a belter and highlights the very best of her voice with a chorus that hits you right where it should – in the heart

Now, going back to Granny Teller’s instructional video on how to make a mashup….  you know where this is going right?  What happens when you mash Adele with Robin S. ??  Well, here’s the answer:


So if you’re looking for the guys that did this, you can find them right here on facebook, “The DJs From Mars”.

I can’t leave a chat about Mash-ups without sharing at least one of my own.  You see, the tools are all out there for you to do this yourself, and once you’ve gleaned all the knowledge from the likes of Granny Teller, it’s not that difficult.  To coin a phrase, “Here’s one I made earlier”:

06_Bedshaped_Insomnia_(Keane_vs_Faithless).mp3 Listen on Posterous

Here’s to banging weekend to music and dancing!


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Thank god there’s no Rhythm or Blues Festival because I would surely go insane. For those of you believing I have some sort of hatred of Blues music or the art of Rhythm, rest assured I do not. It’s just an in-joke.

I’m not actually a huge Jazz fan either. I enjoyed the music in “The Talented Mr.Ripley” greatly, but that’s about the extent of it for me.  Still, if Jazz is your thing…

Cheltenham Festivals

One week to go….

With just a week to go until the start of the 2011 Jazz Festival, we’re busy with all the final preparations – banners have appeared around Cheltenham and tents are starting to go up in Imperial Gardens ready for the opening of Jazz on the Square on 28th April and our special Royal Celebration day on Bank Holiday Friday 29th. It’s all very exciting.

Find out more about Jazz on the Square and the Royal Celebration

Jazz Fringe 2011

This year’s Jazz on The Town kicks off this Thursday 21st April with a great selection of free gigs happening in local pubs, cafes and shops. Then next Thursday (28th April), the Imperial Gardens play host to Fringe on the Square, which will continue throughout the Bank Holiday with free jazz on the Budvar Stage.

Read the full Jazz Fringe programme

Programme updates

Some changes have been made to a small number of Jazz Festival events:

Spin Marvel, Jazz Arena, Saturday 30 April, 5.15pm

We’re thrilled to be able to confirm that for this performance 

Spin Marvel are being joined by special guest John Paul Jones, of Led Zeppelin and Them Crooked Vultures, on bass guitar. He joins an already all-star line-up of Martin France, Nils Petter Molvaer and Terje Evensen. More information

Overtone Quartet, Cheltenham Town Hall, Sunday 1 May, 7pm

Due to the serious illness of a close family member Dave Holland is unfortunately unable to perform. His place will be taken by another legendary bassist Larry Grenadier, whose distinguished career includes long-established associations with Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny and the trio Fly (whose performance was a highlight of the 2010 Festival), amongst many others.

Grenadier will join this all-star quartet which also features Jason Moran on piano and fender rhodes, Chris Potter on tenor sax and Eric Harland on drums. More information

In conversation with Jamie Cullum, Jazz Arena, Monday 2 May, 11am – on public sale

Previously only available to Members, tickets for this exclusive event are now available to the general public.Jamie is talking to Russell Davies, fellow jazz musician, writer and presenter, about his musical influences and the highlights of his career so far. Book tickets online.

Family Breakfast Show – Brass Jaw, Cheltenham Town Hall, Monday 2 May, 10.30am

The doors to the Town Hall will now open at 9.30am to allow people plenty of time to purchase their breakfast and find a seat before the event begins. More information

Following the show the four members of Brass Jaw have also agreed to answer any questions from budding young musicians in a short informal question and answer session between 11.40am and 12noon. This will take place in the Town Hall drawing room, next to the main hall, and will have limited capacity. Anyone wishing to attend should come to the drawing room immediately after the breakfast show has finished with their ticket from this event. If you have any queries about this event, please

If you have any questions about any of these changes, please contact the Box Office on 01242 505444.

Festival dates…

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 27 April – 2 May 2011
The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 7 – 12 June 2011
HSBC Cheltenham Music Festival 29 June – 10 July 2011
The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 7 October – 16 October 2011

Copyright © 2011 Cheltenham Festivals, All rights reserved. 
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Cheltenham Festivals

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This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Seems the only time I get to blog at the moment is when I’m sat on the train. I do normally make time for it. Those of you that read this drivel will know it’s where I exercise (or exorcise) my demons. Its good for my mental health and a bit of a chuckle for the rest of you who can hide and point and think “I’m glad that’s not me”. All this means that not blogging creates a mental block which serves to stifle my creativity. … Or for those of you in the cheap seats with a degree in amateur psychology … Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and dare I say blah. If nothing else it serves to fill a paragraph.

No heating or electricity supply in coach D this morning. The passengers are huddled together like partially frozen mice that you’d find under the floorboards of an old shed in deep winter. It’s early spring though, so I suppose were still due some cold snaps at least for another four weeks until the clocks go forward. There’s no excuse offered for the lack of power. Broken hamster wheel maybe? Or perhaps someone forgot to take the peg off it which is used to stop the hamster squeaking it all night while the driver is trying to sleep. Who knows?

Sat next to a nerd this time who I’m glad to say is worse than even I for gadgets. Should point out that I have nothing against nerds, because I am one afterall. They’re listening to some House-Martins (pre The Beautiful South) on their iPhone, so I approve of that, and writing blackberry email (something to do with training). I’m trying not to look but it’s cold and they’re practically sat on top of me. I’m hugging the window – think “Shaun of the Dead” poster.

Now they’ve got their kindle out and are reading Mark Twain. It’s a Free title on the Kindle store. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great read, but I’m now judging this person based on the fact they can splash out on a bunch of kit (300 quid iPhone, 120 quid kindle, blackberry; probably corporate) but can’t be added to pay for any content. I’m no berating myself for judging. Poor person’s probably only started reading since they got a gadget to show off with… There I go again. Ahhhh well. Look!! There’s the Horlicks factory out the window.

Today’s visit to the big city is all about a project definition workshop which might require some input from me. It’s all a bit woolly, as is the nature of such things and I’m only on this job for another week before I get released to go and do my real job again. In truth this means I’m doing what needs to be done in a mechanical nuts and bolts sort of way. I’m half enjoying it, but only because it’s easy. The new stuff is much more challenging, as a couple of my readers are all to aware right now. I’m particularly enjoying the challenge one of them has set me. I never thought I’d say that.

The more calendar aware among you will see that it’s Thursday and this means WTC. A problem for me as getting out of LDN and back to the countryshire in time is going to be a struggle. I am in need of some social therapy having missed last week and the golfing due to the back strain. Incidentally the back has vastly improved. Lots of keeping it straight and bending the knees seems to be working wonders on it. Still being careful, but definitely moving again.

Daughter’s arm is fully fixed which is a result. She’s been in full fixing mode aswell. She’s fixed her job (by getting a new one), fixed her boyfriend (by getting rid of the old one) and is fixing to have her 21st birthday in 3 or 4 weeks time. Me & Mrs G are all abit broken. Me – the back (improving) and Mrs G is having slightly higher than average blood pressue.  The problem here is all about age.  We have reached that point where these things become important.  The repercusions of this will I’m sure be the sad waving goodbye to the four main food groups, namely Beef, Butter, Eggs and Chocolate and hello to Muselie, Fruit (whatever that is) and cholestoral reducing spreads.If you haven’t hit 40 yet, you have this to look forward to.

Well, that’s my ramble for today. All a bit odd.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

This evening sees the end, at least for another 9 months, of the terror that is the X-Factor. And thank heaven for that. So it’s not my honour, but perhaps my relief to announce the winner here and now, live on my blog so you can all get out and put a bet on to help top up your Christmas fund and not have to waste another two hours of your life sat in front of the telly. You won’t get that time back you know. Having said that the odds will be awful, so save your cash. Without further ado…
Really? Must we?… It’s like a sticking plaster on a hairy leg. Rip it off quick and the pain is harsh, but at least it’s short. In first place…. Simon “flat top blockhead high trousered v-neck t-shirted” Cowell.
You’ve got to hand it to him. This bloke is supposed to find new musical talent and get them noticed. That’s his job. What he’s done is turn his job into a TV show that makes millions.
Instead of him shuffling around the pubs and clubs of britain listening to acts in the hope of finding the next ‘big thing’ he’s convinced the acts to come to him. He’s let ITV film the entire process and persuaded the public that it’s not him deciding who is best, but them. Of course, if the public decide whose a good act, he has an instant popular artist before they’ve recorded a single track, or even signed a deal. The public are even paying to make the decision. Not only that but all the advertising for his new musical talent has been taken care of during the 3 month selection process. He’s now getting paid twice (at least) for just doing his job. Why don’t we all do this?
Well, the short answer is because it wouldn’t make very good television. But the long answer is, most of it’s already been done.
Take the two estate agents (Kirsty Conservative & Phil Tallchap) from ‘Location, location, location’ This is only ‘good’ (to use the term loosely) television because as a nation of nosey sods we get to look around other peoples houses, but again they are only doing their job of buying and selling houses.
There are countless (because I really can’t be arsed to count them all) TV chefs who instead of cooking food in restaurants, cook food on TV because the cameras are in their restaurants who are also busy getting paid twice. And with every TV series a chef does, a cookbook is sure to follow.
The book of the film of the t-shirt of the ashtray, of idea someone scratched on the back of an envelope while doing their day job and not actually working. In fact daytime TV seems to exist for these people along with Quincy (M.E.) and yet more Midsummer Murders. I know this because I looked at the schedules earlier in the week when writing about the revolting students… Sorry, I mean that the students that were revolting… Erm… Oh you know what I mean.
David Orange Dickinson the antiques dealer, more estate agents in ‘Homes under the hammer’ and a professional bear baiter – oops, I mean social worker, known as Jeremy Kyle. Its never ending, but the evil that is Cowell is most certainly thier king.
How do we get rid of him? We can’t vote him off. Or can we? There’s an Internet campaign to get “The Bird” (Have you heard the word about the bird?) to number one in the charts for Christmas so that Simon’s choice doesn’t. Well that must say something to the TV companies about how we feel about him?

The other things you should do… Dont vote on the show, never buy any music by any artist appearing on the show, or better yet, just stop watching. I know it’s difficult because we’re all so damn nosey, but you won’t die and you might actually learn something about real music. The next big problem is America. I’m sure I got this from wikileaks…

Just thank god we don’t live in the USA where the poor population are going to have the same… (I wanted to say television, but that would be unfair to John Logi Baird) …marketing machine foisted upon them. I’m off for Christmas lunch with me gran and the rest of the Wiltshire clan.
Enjoy your foggy Sunday and don’t watch the XFactor. Switch over and watch…. Oh god…. Really??? Strictly ???
Switch off the TV and go to the pub to drown your sorrows.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

I can’t let today go by without writing about a musical release.  I’m not known for going on about my musical tastes, probably because they are so wide and varied.  I’ve been known to find the tuneful delight in a ruler being twanged on the edge of a desk.  I’ve also been known to serve detention for enjoying such (and I quote) “Such a bleedin’ racket!” but that’s a whole other story from a galaxy far far away.

I’m sure those of you that have read any of my tweets around this time of year will also know that I’m practically forced at gunpoint to watch the x-factor because I live in a house with two women. Before I go any further, I have to set the record straight on that point.  They don’t force me to watch it.  I could walk away. But it brings out the worst rubber-necking gene in many of us, myself included.  It’s such a terrible car crash, that as you drive by from BBC2 to Channel 4 you really shouldn’t look at it.  But the fascination has a pull over you that can’t be denied.  I hate it for that very reason, that even my immense will power can’t seem to stop it happening. Such is the way of things.

Over the last 15 years or so – or there abouts, I’ve been a Robbie Williams fan. There, I said it. Truth be told, I still am. Pretty sure I’ve got every album he’s made – there are good ones and bad ones. I’ve consistently listened to the noise he’s made which are completely packed to the brim with irony and I have no doubt, that that fact alone, plays a large part in my enjoyment of his catalog of work.

Anyone who’s lived in the UK in that period of time will of heard of him, and of course of his erstwhile nemesis, Gary Barlow.  The two of them were in a boy band together back in the 90’s. Gary wrote the songs, Robbie danced about at the back and acted like a bit of a twit. The problem was, Robbie had talent which Gary wasn’t letting out. There were words, and a bust up. Around 1996, Robbie went solo and the boy band broke up. Mr Williams went on to become a household name around the world, while Mr Barlow’s star faded. But not for too long.

In 2006 the boy band reformed without Robbie and this time they found great success. Robbie was starting his fade and the boot appears to have shifted foot. And so began a levelling of sorts. The two of them evened out somewhat….

Finaly, the two kids (for that is all they were when they started this journey) have grown up. They’ve met, talked, chatted, confessed and forgiven and we’ve arrived at an interesting point in their joint history to date.  Robbie has split with himself, citing musical similarities and has trotted off to join a boy band. Only now – they’re not boys… now they’re mates.

Robbie and Gary have given us this (albeit in Robbie’s name) presumably as his final hurrah before he split himself up. The opening lyric is all telling: “Now there’s three versions of this story, yours and mine and then the truth.”  It all comes across a bit brokeback mountain, but there’s those lumps of irony again. Not allowed to embed the video, so if you want to watch it, you’ll have to go here: YouTube

I’m sure by now, you’ve figured out where I”m going. The clue is in the title after all, and if you even had a passing glance at the Simon Cowell show last night, then it’s obvious.

The flip side to Robbie’s offering is Take That.  I can’t say I was a fan, but since they refomed in 2006 there’s no denying they’ve had some cracking tunes. And now they’ve got Rob on board, clearly they’re persuading me… to the point that I’ve bought the new album (released today) and I can honestly say; I am loving it. Poptastic.

Without further ado – here’s a link to the first single ( and here’s the video (sorry about the advert)

And here’s a link to the Album (

Of course, I can’t just leave it there… oh no. The cynic in me has a few words to say on the subject. Robbie’s carreer has been on the wane, what he needs is something popular to get him back on track… Do you think his management went… hmmm….  how about reforming Take That?….

Well, do you know what?  I couldn’t care less and in my heart of hearts I sort of doubt that’s case anyway. They’re making good songs which in turn are making good money. With the X-Factor wanting to launch yet another boy band at us, the timing is just perfect, at least from my perspective. I don’t want to see Mr Cowell force any more of his road kill on us.

So if you’re stuck for a present at Christmas for your loved one, you could do far far worse than Give This…. or Take That.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

White Rabbits!!!

Well, that’s what you’re supposed to say on the first day of a new month… isn’t it??  

Well, it seems that rather depends on which superstition you happen to believe.  It might well be that we’re actually supposed to say “Rabbit, Rabbit”, or it could be that we’re supposed to say “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”, or “Bunny Bunny Hop Hop” or “Happy Rabbit Day” or maybe even “A Pinch and a punch, it’s the first of the month!”.  You have to admit, that if you are at all superstitious about these things, you’ve absolutely had it, because there’s just no way of knowing what it is you’re supposed to say and exactly when and even why?

Whatever that thing is you’re supposed to do, if you do it it’s supposed to bring you good luck. So presumably if you don’t do it, conversely you’re in for a load of bad luck. It’s all very confusing.

A friend of mine has this problem with Magpies. I’m sure you’ve heard the nursery rhyme…

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret,
never to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird
you must not miss

which if you lived in the UK in the 70’s you might also recognise as the theme tune to the TV show “Magpie”. It was ITV’s equivalent to the BBC’s “Blue Peter”… and yes, people really did wear wooly jumpers in Monaco, just as you’re about to witness in this video:

Bizarre. To my point though. Should this friend of mine happen upon a magpie during his travels (Which is highly likely as he’s a farmer) he has a little ritual to complete. A lone magpie induces this conversation with himself direct at the said bird “Good morning Mr, Magpie. How’s your lady wife today, Molly Magpie? It’s 11 minutes past 8 (or whatever the time happens to be at that moment)” accompanied by either a salute or a doffing of his hat should he be wearing one.

Apparently if he doesn’t do this, all sorts of ailments could befall him. I once saw him nearly drive into a hedgerow where he was so intent on greeting Mr Magpie and telling the the time.  Country folk, country ways.

But it’s very old word, and a very great song…  as you can see:

superstition. (French – Latin.) French. superstition. Latin. accusative case. superstitionem, a standing near a thing, amazement, dread, religious awe, scruple.
– Latin. superstiti-, crude form of superstes, one who stands near, a witness.
– Latin. super, above, near; statum, supine of sistere, to stand, from stare, to stand.

superstition (ˌsuːpəˈstɪʃən) — noun
1. irrational belief usually founded on ignorance or fear and characterized by obsessive reverence for omens, charms, etc
2. a notion, act or ritual that derives from such belief
3. any irrational belief, esp with regard to the unknown
[from Latin superstitiō dread of the supernatural, from superstāre to stand still by something (as in amazement)]

Thanks to Stevie Wonder for writing it, but even more thanks to Adam Rafferty for this arrangement, which is just awesome!.

As it turns out, we don’t have any white rabbits here on the roundabout, but there’s plenty of the regular grey type. And very hoppy they are too.

PS – For the pureists – here’s Stevie’s version too:

This post originally appeared here: Posterous
I love a Mash-Up…

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Finally I plucked up enough courage to go and buy an iPad. Off the back of that I’ll be writing my thoughts in full in the next day or so.  So for today, some stuff that some other folks have done to brighten up an otherwise dull and bring Monday.  Make no mistake, all Monday’s, with work involved, are dull…   Unless you’ve got a job in a lightbulb factory.

First up…. The awesome “Hollerado”

Then there’s the consistenly entertaining “OK Go”

And now you know what that cat was say…. be warned though, NSW language in this last one.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
The University of Oregon all male a cappella ensemble…. Magic.

Find out all about them here:

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Back to the grindstone today and catching up with the wad of eMails in my inbox. Not as many as usual, but then I have been actively trying to manage my email numbers downwards. eMail really is the spawn of the devil and is completely misused in today’s business environment. For example, I was out for 7 business days and in that time received 114 emails (an average of 16.28 messages per day). Of these, 70 were instantly deletable, things like:

  • meeting invites for last week
  • machine generated notifications
  • cc’s on things that don’t really concern me
  • announcements which are summarised into a single weekly message (meaning I actually get these twice!!)
  • one long joke thread.  

This means that 61% of my email is rubbish. 

There’s a long way to go before I can consider switching eMail off altogether, but I still think I can get it to a slimmer point yet, and that has become a goal. I still have 30 that are worthy of some attention, although of these, so far I’ve seen 5 that I’m likely to respond to. Just for the sake of completeness – 5 eMails!! = 4%!!. Tells a story doesn’t it. 

I have a feeling the answer to this problem lies in Social media.  The likes of Twitter & Facebook make for a far more direct method of contact, and you’re far more likely to get in touch, if you NEED to get in touch. I wish I’d thought of it, but I can’t take the credit for it. The most eloquent and driven proponent of this thinking that I’ve found so far, has to be Luis Suarez. Have a read of this and see if you don’t agree.

I’ll write more on this later in the year as my inbox shrinks.

Freebie time now….

First of all, I have 5 invites for Tweasier…  first come first served if you drop me an email or DM with your email address in.  Eh?   Hang on. What’s Tweasier ??  It’s a Twitter analysis tool (sort of).  I’m still trying it out so I’m not 100% certain what I think of it yet, but if you want to learn a bit more about it, here’s the video:

Tweasier – The Walk through video from Tweasier on Vimeo.

And then secondly of all…  a free listen of a brand new Album from 3DiCD. I’m sure you remember me blathering on about Howard Jone’s release of Ordinary Hero’s. Well, today see’s the launch of Syd Barrett’s forthcoming release “An Introduction to…”  For those of you who don’t know, Syd Barrett was of course the original front man from Pink Floyd. There’s everything you ever wanted to know just a click away, here:

Do me a favour and turn it down just a tad….  I’m trying to read a ridiculous amount of eMail here! 😉

This post originally appeared here: Posterous