Do I know where hell is…

Hell is in hello! Sods law took charge this evening within my humble abode – just after Nipper decided to seek and retrieve his rubber Kong from behind the TV and sound system. His gain was my loss, because every lead that could have been unplugged – was done so! Two DVD players, the SKY box, the whole sound system, as well as the telecom lead, TV aerial, and a few others cables that must be for show? Being a switched on cookie I had the forethought to photograph the same set up after moving it around last year. Setting it all up previously almost drove me to the brink of insanity, as well as reaching for a bottle of Port before climbing aboard the bus to get there! 

Job complete (after much muttering and cursing in a cramped space) I reached for a DVD to test the digital behemoth, which just happened to be an unopened copy of ‘Paint Your Wagon’ that I must have received as a Christmas gift? Without realising the time, two hours flew-bye, which left me with happy memories and a grin from ear to ear – besides an ear worm of ‘I was born under a wandering star!’ Now it’s your turn if you choose to hit play (Lee Marvin starts caterwauling 1min 15sec in.) When I get to heaven, tie me to a tree, For I’ll begin to roam and soon you’ll know where I will be… We both have the same tin ear, it must be an Ex Marine thing!  Yours_Aye.

The Girl From Ipanema

Helo_PinheiroThe song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helô Pinheiro – right), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach (“each day when she walks to the sea”), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles. In the winter of 1962, the composers watched the girl pass by the bar, and it is easy to imagine why they noticed her—Helô was a five-foot eight-inch brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. The rest is history – in Ipanema.  

Tall and tanned and young and lovely
the girl from Ipanema goes walking
and when she passes
each man she passes
goes Aaah!

When she moves it’s like a samba
that swings so cool and sways so gently
that when she passes
each man she passes
goes Aaah!

Oh – but he watches so sadly
How – can he tell her he loves her
He – would just give his heart gladly

But each day when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead not at he

Tall and tanned and young and lovely
the girl from Ipanema goes walking
and when she passes
he smiles
but she doesn’t see
no she doesn’t see
she just doesn’t see…

It may be a few of days into Spring with the sun shining brightly each day, but; a bitter cold 45 mph wind blasting down from the North of England cuts deep into the bone when one has to repair torn felt on a wooden cabin for a pair of hours. So what better way to chill out than with a large rum – a roaring log fire, and The Girl From Iponema…      Yours Aye.

 (For a super chill session with a bottle of Pusser’s rum, there’s always the 10 hour version!)

‘The flashmob of Prodigies’

‘The flashmob of Prodigies’ ~ ‘Le flashmob de Prodiges’

Does ISIS/IS/ISIL ever conduct such things for the wonderment of others? Or are they only capable of “Flash to Bang’ amongst mobs of innocent people. Just wondering! Yours Aye.

Puddles sings ‘O Holy Night’

MarmitePuddles the clown turns in a soul-stirring performance of the Christmas classic ‘Oh Holy Night’ showing once again why he’s called “The sad clown with the golden voice” Even if you’re not religious, you may well hit ‘play’ a second time…

Puddles music is a Marmite thing, ‘you either love it or hate it!’  Either way it’s an acquired taste that tends to polarise opinions. Yours Aye.

Claude Debussy ~ ‘Clair de lune’

‘Clair de lune’ Just Because…

I see the moon,
The moon sees me
‘Gawd’ bless the moon,
And ‘Gawd’ bless me…

A poem from when I was a young lad; without a care in the world.      Yours Aye.

Always look on the bright side of life

Why thousands Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: Monty Python tune is new favourite song to be played at funerals.1416540447061_Image_galleryImage_Paul_Hennessy00012_jpgBritain’s baby boomers are choosing to face the final curtain with a laugh with Monty Python’s irreverent hit Always Look on the Bright Side of Life topping the charts as the most popular funeral song. The tongue-in-cheek ‘ditty’ poking fun at death has replaced Frank Sinatra’s My Way as the most popular song played at funerals – the first time the song has been toppled from the number one spot since 2002.  The song, written by Eric Idle, was taken from the controversial 1979 film The Life of Brian

‘Always look on the bright side of life.’
Always look on the light side of life.
If life seems jolly rotten,
There’s something you’ve forgotten,
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps,
Don’t be silly chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle. That’s the thing.
Always look on the bright side of life.
Always look on the right side of life,
For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin.
Give the audience a grin.
Enjoy it. It’s your last chance, anyhow.
Always look on the bright side of death,
Just before you draw your terminal breath.
Life’s a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke. It’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show.
Keep ’em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
Always look on the bright side of life.

There are far worse things happen at sea…      Yours Aye.

His (Dead) Masters Voice

Top of the dogs… HMV’s ‘Nipper’ gets a blue plaque: His Master’s Voice hound tribute to be unveiled next month. Nipper, the famous HMV dog, has been immortalised with his own blue plaque in London. The terrier cross was painted in 1899 sitting with his ear to a wind-up gramophone and featured on hundreds of millions of records produced by the HMV label over more than a century. His place in musical history was marked at a special ceremony last week organised by the British Plaque Trust and attended by executives from HMV, which stands for His Master’s Voice.1414872546454_Image_galleryImage_Handout_photo_issued_by_H

The plaque will be unveiled to the public early next month. Nipper (1884-1895) had many superstar fans in the world of music, with artists as varied as Elvis, The Beatles and leading classical performers posing with his image. The plaque will be displayed at the Cavalry and Guards Club, 126 Piccadilly, Central London, where artist Francis Barraud, the dog’s final owner, painted Nipper from memory.

1414872559014_wps_3_Blue_Plaque_for_Nipper_thDisc gramophones first appeared in the 1890s and by 1902 the forerunner to HMV, the Gramophone Company, was taking shape. The first HMV store opened in July 1921 on Oxford Street. In 1931 the Gramophone Company, with its His Master’s Voice record label, merged with the Columbia Gramophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI), meaning that Nipper not only featured on the HMV label, but also on associated brands including RCA Victor and Deutsche Grammophon. The British Plaque Trust raises funds for blue plaques to commemorate personalities and organisations that have contributed to the British way of life. By David Wigg for THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

Miscellaneous Information from yours truly… Nipper, and the record player, were originally mounted on top of a coffin lid – hence the shiny wooden reflective surface he’s sat upon. The original advert read; “His Dead Masters Voice” – which proved too upsetting around the time of various British Colonial wars, as well as WW1. So the word ‘Dead’ was dropped (to improve sales) and the advert changed to ‘His Masters Voice.’ Upon Nipper’s death in 1895 he was buried in Kingston upon Thames in a small park surrounded by magnolia trees.Nipper dreaming

When a branch of ‘Lloyds-Trustee Savings Bank’ was built on the site, a brass plaque was added commemorating the famous terrier that lies beneath the building. On 10th March 2010, a small road near to the dog’s resting place in Kingston-upon-Thames was named ‘Nipper Alley’ in commemoration of this famous resident.  Which is a bit of a coincidence, as I call the stone path flanked by high hedgerow ‘Nipper Alley’ after the Jack Russell-Staffie X above – who uses it to catch and despatch adult ‘Jaspers’ when he bolts along it into the field. Who ever said ‘Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth’ at the rescue centre almost got it right?   Yours Aye.

Now for something completely different!

Is this the most relaxing song EVER? Listen to the music that is ‘scientifically proven’ to send you to sleep.  A video for the track that has been ‘scientifically proven’ to be the most relaxing song in the world has been released as part of an album with five other songs. Named Weightless, the music can apparently slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and decrease levels of cortisol – a steroid hormone released in response to stress. The track has been labelled ‘the most relaxing song in the world’, beating other contenders including Adele and Coldplay.     ‘zzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZ zzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZ’Marconi Union weightlessMost relaxing song EVER. Listen to music scientifically proven to send you to sleep……….

One of my mate’s ‘found’ himself after visiting Goa a couple of years ago (I had no idea he was lost!) Upon his return to the UK with a female companion (also of the ‘lost & found’ department) his previous lifestyle became a taboo subject. Sadly he was no longer the ‘work-hard-play-hard’ carnivore companion of old. Not long after his return, I, and several other good friends were invited for a slap up meal and a gallon of ale at his abode; from which, I departed more sober and hungry than when I first arrived. The music and burning incense accompanied by salad, salad, beans, and more salad – was far too much for my delicate ears, nostrils, and stomach to take.

Fortunately my mate once again ‘found him self lost’ after suffering from a moment of weakness when he visited a burger bar in York, which is close by to a very good real ale public house. Much to the annoyance of his blue-eyed, blonde haired, 84Ib girlfriend, who almost shattered the strengthened glass in his front door, when she stormed out and left him at daft-o-clock in the morning – taking all of the ‘chill out’ music CD’s with her. This afternoon I sent the following YouTube clip to my mate, as a simple reminder of his near miss…  Marconi Union-Weightless-10 hour version (Yep, 10 hours zzzz ZZZ) Yours Aye.

Quintessential British ‘chap-hop’

Misery and bad news is far too thick on the ground around the world at the moment. Each morning one only has to tune in the radio, turn on the television, or view the first page of The TIMES newspaper to understand that the whole world is going to hell in a handcart! hell in a Handcart

I.E. The constant news feed on the poor lost souls on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, followed by perpetual updates on the Ukraine-Crimea-Russian crisis; the Oscar Pistorious murder trial, Syria’s civil war, Egypt’s turmoil, the massive fraud and corruption charges facing Turkey’s Government, as well as fraud and corruption among various International Police Authorities and their ineffectiveness in fighting crime. In addition to the fraudulent activity surrounding the European Union; Prime Minister Cameron is still dithering over a referendum. To boot; Obama’s pathetic management skills has all but ruined a world superpower.images Sadly stories about NATO’s ISAF plight in Afghanistan is now found among the small columns, or offered as a two-minute news bite… 

‘Enough! enough I say!’ This Sunday we are going to have a change of pace; we can return to the handcart and its pathway to hell another day onwards. Obviously tomorrow being onwards…

‘And Now for Something Completely Different,’ (or at least in a similar vein!) Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the league of gentlemen adventurers in the shape and form of ‘Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer,’ and ‘Professor Elemental.’ mrb-elementalThese two gentlemen present and offer ‘chap-hop,’ which is a quintessential British version of American ‘hip-hop.’ Over the last few years these two honourable men have verbally (though courteously) slugged it out around England. 

images-2The gauntlet for a ‘chap-off’ was thrown down by Professor Elemental.  ‘Fighting Trousers’ by Professor Elemental… You will note that the lyrics follow as a courtesy for our American cousins across the pond, please sing along and join in as you see fit…

Dear Sir,
Regarding your recent foray 
Into the rap business and the scene you portray,
See I don’t normally approve of war games, 
But “He’s biting you” is what they all say

And by Harry, they might be right–
This is chap hop, not an Elvis night!
Shelve this Professor impersonation,
Let it end now, it’s impertinent waiting!

You seem a reasonable chap, 
What you need to do is rap 
But not parody chap hop
‘Cause that’s not proper, just not cricket!
Put away your ukulele or I’ll tell where to stick it!

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

I’ve got super producers and fans that play me
You’ve got a granddad’s mustache and a ukulele
Don’t look around sir, I’m speaking to you
Roll up your shirt sleeves, Queensbury rules
Never test professors with the cleverest wits
Let’s settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
And you’re Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
When this George Formby clone is performing
Audiences go home before he begins talking
A new career might be more rewarding
I’m a bright Brighton peer, you’re rap’s Piers Morgan

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

I’m not seeing you at ciphers or workshops with kids or gigs
Dear sir, you’re not worthy of this!
Sold out to Coca-Cola
Used for a trend
And that means you’re banned
From using a pen
Hope it’s safe to assume you won’t do this again
Set foot on my stage and get ruined again
Be out, Mr. B, I’ve set the egg timer
There’s not room in town for two gentlemen rhymers
Leave town by the end of this instrumental
Yours, et cetera, et cetera, sincerely, and so forth,
Professor Elemental

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

maxresdefaultAs would be expected of a gentleman; Mr B simply took it all in his stride and respectfully replied in his inexorable way ‘Just Like A Chap.’ Lyrics not required due to the use of  clipped English throughout.images

Inevitably a ‘chap-off’ was organised for all to see with the ‘Marquess of Queensbury rules set as the ‘on stage’ standard. The two titans of chap-hop met in a once-in-a-lifetime ‘dis’ battle to the verbal death. Of which a small exert follows. Mr, B. The Gentleman Rhymer Vs Professor Elemental – Chap Off  Bloody marvellous hey, what!mrbprofeThe Chap Manifesto as found within each copy of The Chap Magazine A splendid read with lots of splendid ideas for chap’s.     Yours Aye.        Normal service will be resumed within 12 hours or so…

‘Tis a Navy Life for Me

My life has been owned over the last couple of months by what is affectionately called a qual in our gentle seagoing service. I sat in, as a trainee, and learned a new job. No, it is not my permanent position out here in beautiful Japan. I simply qualled to serve as a back-up in case I am needed. (Sort of like a male Supreme to the Diana Rosses we currently have on staff. . .)

While I sort out my thoughts on the process, I must offer you the following:

Jason P Brown was a Marine Corporal during the Los Angeles riots and he offers an amazing first-person account of the affair.

-Cornel Hrisca-Munn is a drummer. And here, he covers the Foo Fighters song, Everlong. Cornel was born with a certain disability that makes drumming impossible. Or nearly so.

Direct from WIkipedia: Norval Sinclair Marley was a Jamaican of English descent, notable for being the father of the reggae artist Bob Marley. Who knew?

-Cimorelli is a girl group made up of Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren, and Dani. Here they cover Lorde’s RoyalsWith all that estrogen in one family, I wonder if their dad was a Navy pilot? Strange thing, but there’s something about flying. . .

-Rugby can be rough, watch Gareth Raynor knocking out Sam Tomkins.

‘Liftit & Wreckit’ Removals

Four years back my mate called and asked “What are you up to tomorrow around one-o-clock” It being 13:00 hrs on a Saturday obviously meant an invite for a few beers in a local pub, as later that afternoon Wales were playing Ireland (Six Nations Rugby Final). I could taste the first foamy mouthful of Guinness as I answered “Nothing mate where shall we meet”? The reply wasn’t what I expected… BROADWOOD traditional uprightBROADWOOD Traditional Upright Piano similar to the beast mentioned

“Excellent! Drop by my place and you can help me move my Mum’s upright piano, she’s moving into a bungalow and its the last thing to be moved” I wailed and cried and stamped my feet as I reminded him about the live play rugby final. I even mentioned my English body with its Irish heart; all to no avail. Fortunately the kick off wasn’t until 17:30 hrs, time a plenty for ‘Liftit & Wreckit removals’ to do the job, and then catch up the final over a foaming pint of black liquid. 

My chin hit the steering wheel when we arrived at his Mum’s house; her lovely old market town house, had four steep-steps leading to the front door with an iron railing either side of the steps. Bugger! At least his nephew was there with a Ford Luton van with a tail lift. His nephew stepped out of the  van; all 5′ 4″ of him, weighing in at 100 Ibs wringing wet (my mate is 6′ 3″). “Your nephew is on your wife’s side of the family I take it” said I humorously… “Obviously”! came back the reply. Two hours later with much huffing and puffing, and several crushed and bruised fingers, we departed the bungalow and headed for the pub. Wales 15. Ireland 17. Ireland claimed their first Grand Slam since 1948. I drunk myself to oblivion that late afternoon, and woke up the next morning to find a gorilla had been in my bedroom, stole the money from my wallet, tipped over the furniture, threw my clothes every where (except one sock that I was still wearing), and peed in my mouth. What a night though!     The Piano (Two Ex Bootnecks)DownloadedFile

Which leads me on to present day, as I sit here aching from head to toe. This morning I received a call from my mate “What are you up to this afternoon, around two-o-clock”? Not much” came back my reply… “Excellent, I need a favour” said he, I laughed and replied “As long as it’s not moving that bloody piano again”! He also laughed and said “Actually ‘it is’ moving the piano, my Mum sold the bungalow and she’s moving into a small cottage nearby”. His nephew turned up again with the same hire van, both nephew and van remain the same size, the piano crushed and bruised the same fingers going into the tight door-frame of the cottage. However; this time not one drop has passed my lips, and now I am going for a long soak in the bath. Normal service will resume later.     Yours Aye

With friends like these

Lager on tap has a new meaning, especially with friends like those of New Zealander Russell Brown! It’s a dream come true for many men. Imagine coming home from a hard day’s work to find every tap in your house had been re-plumbed to flow with chilled lager.article-2423306-1BE0ACB6000005DC-765_634x496

That’s exactly what happened to Russ Brown who fell victim to the ultimate in practical jokes, filmed by his brother and friends on a battery of cameras hidden throughout his home, with the help of a local brewery who supplied the lager. The group of pals carried out the elaborate operation after Russ went out to work for the day. Oh, if only Guinness miracles happened…            Yours Aye.

The Bloodhound Gang Is Still Around?

Bloodhound Gang has not been relevant in years. They were, at best, a fun party band. At worst, they were sex-starved louts whose lyrics were heavily r-rated. Still, good job guys!

Videos posted online of Wednesday’s concert in the Ukrainian city of Odessa show Bloodhound Gang bass player Jared Hasselhoff pushing the Russian white, blue and red flag down the front of his pants and pulling it out the back. He then shouted to the audience: “Don’t tell Putin,” a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The incident outraged the Russian government. Maria Minina, a spokeswoman for the weeklong Kubana festival in southern Russia, said Saturday that the band’s headlining performance the previous evening had been canceled because of its treatment of the flag.

Jared Hasselhoff? Don’t hassle the hoff!

Vince Gill Tore ‘Er Up

I’m a big Vince Gill fan, both of the musician and the human being. Great man, talented and honorable. Which is why I downloaded his newest album, titled Bakersfield. It is all of a day old, he just put it out yesterday with Paul Franklin:

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin - Bakersfield
Vince Gill & Paul Franklin – Bakersfield

Preliminary reviews: very upbeat and smooth.

Don’t tell anyone, but I also downloaded Pearl Pearl Pearl, by Flatt & Scruggs, Bowling Green by Della Mae, Sophronie by Jimmy Martin, and Thirty Years of Farming by James King. Please keep the Sophronie download to yourself. It is a guilty pleasure. (Love ’em and leave ’em, hug ’em and squeeze ’em. . .)

Pray for Randy Travis

I became a country music fan in the early nineties when I first heard Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Randy Travis. I’d avoided the country and western music twang growing up in Los Angeles, but I had a college friend from Fresno who listened to the stuff 24/7. Since he was a state wrestling champ, in the heavyweight division, guess what? I listened to the stuff 8/7. (After all, I did not hang out with him 24/7.)

It grew on me after we ribbed him about it and he went a little country on us. Ever had something called a piranha done to you? It is a wrestling move and it hurts like hell. Essentially, the wrestler has you on your stomach and is rubbing his chin into your traps and squeezing the life outta yer lats. Country music mellowed him out and we all wanted him mellow. A little Friends in Low Places was preferable to getting piledrivers.

I’ve followed Randy Travis’ career ever since and was concerned when he had a dust-up with the law this last year. Now, I just read he is in brain surgery, after a stroke. And reading this piece by the very smiley LZ Granderson, I understand why Randy’s appeal cut across society:

Randy Travis
Randy Travis

Of all the parts that make up my somewhat quirky life, there are few things that raise a stranger’s eyebrows faster than discovering I love country music.

Not a “I like that one song by Lady Antebellum” kind of love for country music either. Mine is a “Barack I would love to join you and Michelle for dinner next Saturday, but you see I have tickets to see Eric Church so …” kind of love.

When did this love affair begin? January 24, 1988. The night I met Randy Travis.

Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for families to gather around the television, and mine had done so that night to watch the American Music Awards. Michael Jackson was receiving a special honor, and Whitney Houston was scheduled to perform. At the time, those two were the most popular singers on the planet but for me, the night belonged to Travis.

I had never heard of him or his mid-tempo ballad “Forever and Ever, Amen” before the show. Everyone knew who Kenny Rogers was, but usually the only country music you heard in my house was the theme song to the “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

But something about the purity of Travis’ voice captured me.

Get better, Randy. . .