Monday 30 November 2020

Monday Long Song

Driving home from work at quarter to five on a crisp, cloudless Thursday evening, the sun, which set a full 45 minutes earlier, had left a glowing orange residue low in the sky, while off the road to my right a dense mist enveloped the Waveney Valley. It was all too beautiful. My in-car soundtrack was one of a selection of old self-made compilation CDrs rediscovered during the recent house move. I had no way of knowing what tunes it contained, but this one started to play as I drove towards that dimming orange horizon and I thought to myself, right at this moment, there's nothing I'd rather be listening to.  

Lambchop - The Hustle

Monday 23 November 2020

Monday Long Song

Richard Youngs is a man rarely known for looking back throughout his 170-odd album (and counting) career, so it's a particular joy to find him circling around to rekindle the terrific AMOR project once again. A new 4 track 12" EP is due for release in January, resulting from pre-lockdown Glasgow sessions in cahoots with Norwegian combo LEMUR. 'Unravel' is the first taste - order the EP here.

AMOR/LEMUR - Unravel

Thursday 19 November 2020

Three Notable Neighbours

Following our move out to the sticks in 2011, on one of our first ventures into the local small market town up the road, Mrs S & I decided to to check out a promising looking deli/coffee shop. Once inside, the place had a distinct Mary Celeste vibe about it and I wondered if it was actually closed. Suddenly, without warning, a man popped his head up from behind the counter and explained apologetically that he was just looking after the place for a few minutes while the owner had gone to the bank. His sudden unexpected appearance made me jump, not least because the man behind the counter was none other than Yosser Hughes, or to be more accurate, the actor Bernard Hill. Younger readers may be more familiar with his work in films like Gandhi, Titanic and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but to my generation he'll always be associated with his iconic role in Alan Bleasdale's Boys From the Blackstuff television series. It transpired that Hill lives locally and I've seen him around town many times in the years since that first encounter.


At my old gaff, Swede Towers, the locals would frequently take in parcels for neighbours who weren't at home - we all helped each other out. One day about three years ago, the postman knocked at the door to ask if I'd mind taking a parcel for the young couple who'd recently moved into the big place next door but one to me. The postman was impressed by my neighbour, but I hadn't seen him and the name meant nothing to me. Turns out it was Norwich City and Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul. He and his wife were also regular visitors to the supermarket where I work, where he was endlessly polite and accommodating to selfie requests from customers and fellow staff members alike.


One afternoon last week, as I scrambled around on my knees, trying to squeeze a few extra packs of crumpets onto a very low shelf at work, I heard a strangely familiar voice say 'Excuse me'. As I struggled to my feet, the man in question asked if we sold gluten free pizza bases. I replied that we certainly did and took him and his wife round to the relevant aisle. 'Perfect' he said and thanked me warmly. It's fairly common knowledge that he owns a property in a nearby village, but this was my first ever actual encounter with Brian Eno in town. (I did have close call a couple of years ago though).

Brian Eno - Third Uncle

Monday 16 November 2020

Monday Long Song

I have a choice of two roads to take me the six miles from my new abode to my place of work. One is flat, characterless and often quite busy. The other winds its way up hill and down dale as it quietly snakes through the Suffolk countryside. I'm sure you can guess which road I prefer. A couple of weeks ago, as I trundled along through dawn's early light, following a safe distance behind what I assumed to be a police car (it wasn't), a barn owl swooped across the road between us. I let out an involuntary woo-hoo in celebration. These majestic creatures were once a regular fixture of my evening walks around this part of the world, but this was the first one I'd seen in nigh-on three years. Then, at 5.30 this very morning in the pre-dawn gloom, I narrowly avoided rear-ending a deer as it ambled idly across the road in front of me. This was no cute little muntjac either - it was a large blighter and a collision might've caused us both significant damage. Fortunately, on both occasions, I was pootling along, rather than dashing - enjoying the tunes. I've been on something of a David Axelrod kick lately and Cannonball Adderley's 'Tensity', written and produced by the great man in 1970, has been an oft repeated soundtrack to my brief commute.

Cannonball Adderley - Tensity

Thursday 12 November 2020

Stranger in Town

Well that certainly took a lot longer than expected. Exactly one month on from my move, broadband has finally arrived at the all new Swede Apartments. I steamed through what little data I had on my phone in no time, what with signing up for this and deleting accounts for that, and have been waiting for the brand new router to drop through my letterbox ever since. 

How's everybody been? I feel hopelessly out of touch and can't pretend that I'll be able to catch up with absolutely everything I've missed over the past four weeks, but am looking forward to gradually sticking a digital head around the respective doors of all my favourite hangouts to find out what's been going down in blogtown while I've been otherwise engaged.

I'll save more detailed updates for later, but suffice it to say that I'm now ensconced in a second and third floor apartment within a converted 19th century maltings in a small Suffolk market town, just 6 or 7 miles up the road and over the river from where I used to live. The new gaff comes with a shared half acre waterside garden, which really is quite lovely - the photo at the top was taken at the end of it, one drizzly afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  

I'll conclude this brief re-emergence post by thanking one and all for the positive vibes and good wishes that were left after the previous one - I was (and remain) extremely touched and very, very grateful.

The Crystalites - Stranger in Town

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