Monday 28 October 2019

Monday Long Song

My thanks go to our mutual chum Brian for alerting me to the delights of House Deposit. The Australian four piece come heavily recommended if you dig fab combos such as Goon Sax, The Stroppies, Community Radio, The Chills and Chook Race. The only physical manifestation of their debut full length release 'Reward For Effort' is, frustratingly, on cassette, one of which is currently winging its way in my direction from the other side of the world. Fear not though, a digital copy of the eight track release will only set you back a little under four quid. It's a jangly, melancholic treat and well worth every penny. Check out the whole album here.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Saturday Musings

I've had the week off - actually I'm still off and don't go back to work until Thursday. I've been hard at it for the past few months, taking every hour of overtime I've been offered, keeping mind and body occupied, so I was pretty knackered and ready for a break. Of course as soon as I stopped, I immediately became incredibly anxious and stressed, unhappy in my own skin and missing the person who is no longer sharing my life more than ever. So, each morning for the first half of the week, I took myself off to one of the many nature reserves in this part of the world, where I found myself able to embrace my solitude by simply walking, breathing and being - for hours at a time. It was some kind of wonderful I can tell you. Of course I had to return to the pain of my actual existence eventually, but those walks were encouragingly positive glimpses into a reality beyond the one I find myself trapped in at the moment.

Then on Wednesday evening I went to see Rozi Plain play in Norwich and on Thursday ventured down to my old hometown of Ipswich to catch her in concert again. Long suffering visitors to this place will already be all too aware of my immense adoration of Rozi's music. Today I'm off to Cambridge, to reconnect with my old buddy Robyn Hitchcock. Then, after a Sunday lunch in the company of a group of old friends, on Monday morning I'll be winding my way down to this nation's capitol to catch Robyn again for what is being touted as something of a career retrospective show at the Union Chapel, where he'll apparently be joined by guests aplenty, including more than one fellow former Soft Boy. It's all very exciting stuff for this old Fegmaniac.

I won't go on and on, but please allow me to reiterate once again how very humbled and grateful I am for every single message of moral support that has been sent in my direction following the recent posts regarding my personal circumstances. I appreciate every kind word more than you could possibly imagine. I'm appalling company at the moment, really dreadful, collapsing into a sobbing heap without warning at every turn, but one day, one day, I hope I'll be able to express my gratitude to at least some of you personally.

Rozi Plain - There Is No Sun

Monday 21 October 2019

Monday Long Song

It's a relatively well known fact that, in spite of being known around these parts for the past few years as The Swede, I am categorically not Swedish. There is, however, a great deal of love in my heart for an ever increasing number of fine bands hailing from said Scandinavian nation. Take Lamagaia for instance. Very little of their splendid catalogue would fail to qualify length-wise as a Monday Long Song - indeed up until the very last moment a 33 minute opus entitled 'Alabamian Horologists' was slated to appear in this spot, but the Can-like grooviness of 'Lamagaius' eventually won the day. I'm particularly partial to the brief whistling solo 8 minutes in.

If you like what you hear, more treasures await on the Lamagaia Bandcamp page, plus there are a total of 24 tunes available to download free of charge directly from the band's website here and here. Dive in.

Lamagaia - Lamagaius

Saturday 19 October 2019

Some Broken Things Don't Mend

To the anonymous strangers on the surrounding tables in the cafe we probably looked like two old friends having a long overdue catch-up over coffee. We laughed loudly, talked easily and listened to each other's conversation intently. In reality though, Mrs S and I met on Friday morning to discuss who owns what as regards our mutual possessions, plus the thorny issues of finance. It was an absolute joy to see her - it always was and always will be, at least until such time as I sell this house and we divide the contents in a manner that we both agree is appropriate. After that I'm not sure I have the the mental fortitude to remain in her orbit as an extended friend. I'm suffering such awful pain in the aftermath of this one brief get together that it's probably in my best interests that I walk out of her life completely, hard though that will be. She knows that she only has to make the call and I'd be at her side in an instant, but equally I know that she'll never make that call. Every time I'd see her I'd be looking for a ghost of a sign, a sign that would never come.

Rain Parade - You Are My Friend 

Monday 14 October 2019

Monday Long Song

This time last week, a passing reference was made to Patrick Moraz, the man who was my final prog fascination before punk came along with its new broom to sweep all that old stuff away - for a few years at any rate. I was introduced to Moraz via the debut (and sole) LP from Refugee in early 1974. The band was put together by Brian Davidson and Lee Jackson of The Nice after Keith Emerson jumped ship to form Emerson Lake and Palmer. Moraz was in turn snatched away later the same year by Yes, following the departure of  their keyboard maestro Rick Wakeman, where he contributed heavily to the 'Relayer' LP and accompanying world tour. The prog supergroup merry-go-round came to a shuddering halt for Moraz a couple of years later when he was asked to leave Yes to make way for the returning Wakeman. 'The Story of I' in 1976 was the first LP to be released under Patrick Moraz's own name and in 1978 he commenced a 15 year stint with the tremendously dull Moody Blues. I was long gone by that point though.

Somehow, despite many moves and financially motivated downsizes in the interim, after 45 years I still have my original copy of that Refugee LP on the Charisma label. As you might expect it's a record chock full of classically tinged piano passages, impenetrable lyrical flourishes, tricky time changes, sweeping moog set pieces and long 'songs' divided into multiple disparate movements. Here's one of the latter, containing all of the former.

Refugee - Credo

Wednesday 9 October 2019

It Never Was Ours to Tunnel Through

Director of the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance and Lost Map recording artist Victoria Hume returns with a sublime new single 'Desert', which is released as part of the label's PostMap Club postcard series. For a mere two quid (here) a printed postcard will drop through your letterbox, complete with a digital download code for 'Desert' and 'b-side' 'If I Had a Sword'.

Hypnotic and beguiling, 'Desert' is as lovely as lovely gets.

Monday 7 October 2019

Monday Long Song

The 'Live at the Marquee EP' by Eddie and the Hot Rods marked a fundamental turning point in my listening habits back in 1976. You could quite legitimately call it my gateway record to Punk and beyond. "...yes, your Patrick Moraz LPs started gathering dust about then..." noted a friend this week, with an uncanny level of accuracy. To dismiss Eddie and the Hot Rods as mere Pub Rockers is to do the band a massive disservice. While each of their three Island albums and attendant singles do indeed contain their fair share of splendidly flat out, four to the floor r&b bangers, dig a little deeper and you'll unearth a handful of off-kilter, envelope-pushing oddities, the like of which you'd struggle to find on any Dr Feelgood LP (and that isn't a criticism). Check out 'Distortion May Be Expected', 'We Sing...The Cross', 'On the Run' or 'Horror Through Straightness' if you don't believe me.

Last week we bade farewell to Barrie Masters, singer and sole ever-present member of Eddie and the Hot Rods, at the criminally young age of 63. I had an intense relationship with the band for a three or four year period at the end of the 1970s, yet only saw them in concert once. This was the stand-out tune that night.

Eddie and the Hot Rods - Beginning of the End

Thursday 3 October 2019



After driving myself half mad for the past couple of months bouncing around the empty rooms, I've bowed to the inevitable and put my house on the market. The place was initially very much Mrs S's vision, but it's a home that I truly grew to love. Now though, it's an echoing shell - an ever-present reminder of all that I've lost. Coming back from work every evening to the silent darkness is particularly painful. It's a quirky property, there's no two ways about it - and therein lies the possible problem as regards finding a buyer. Whoever takes it on must have the same vision thing that Mrs S had eight years ago.

The bathroom only became attached to the main body of the property, by way of an extension, 50 years ago. For the previous 200 years it was the wash-house, separated by a couple of yards from the rear of the building. The wooden door-frame is original and the step shows a considerable dip from the weight of the countless feet that have crossed its threshold over the past two centuries, mine and Mrs S's included. I wonder whose will be next.

The Ex - Footfall

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