Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Bird in the Hand

Flap your wings and cock-a-doodle-doo with joy! This week's Contrast Podcast is out today and the theme is "Chickens and Other Birds." Prepare yourself for a veritable flock of aural, avian delights. And there's not a genetically modified, battery hen of a track in sight - it's all free-range, corn-fed tuneage with plumeage.

Enough of my twittering. Fly on in to this wondrous dovecote, where KD Lang, The Cramps, Sufjan, and Bobby Darin all share a perch. You can do so directly here, or else you can sbscribe using this RSS (chicken)feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ContrastPodcast.

(00:00) Herbie Hancock - Bring down the birds
(00:53) Bobby Darin - A Nightingale sang in Berkley Sq.
Tim from The face of today

(03:51) The Trashmen - Surfin’ Bird
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock

(06:24) The Cramps - Chicken
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(08:35) The Bat Boys - OK Blue Jays
Lyle from Mentok the Mind-taker

(11:54) Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain
FiL from Pogoagogo

(15:43) Cake - Comfort Eagle
Tom from Other People’s Toys

(19:48) KD Lang - Bird on a wire
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(24:40) Dead Kennedys - Chicken Farm
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(30:00) The Twilight Singers - That’s just how that bird sings
Alex from Totally true tales from Texas

(34:40) They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse in your soul
Jim from Quick before it melts

(38:54) Rachael Dadd & The Missing Scissors - Birds & Horses
Tim from FunFunFun

(43:10) Saves the Day - Nightingale
Andy from Circles of Concrete

(46:31) Weird Al Yankovic - I wanna new duck
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

(50:02) Galactic - Funky bird
Deek Deekster from Pod of Funk

(55:13) Johnny Otis - Turkey Hop
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(58:38) Sufjan Stevens - The lord god bird
Tim The Daily Growl

Tim, our fine, feathered friend, is now soliciting contributions for the next three podcasts, so no excuses for not participating. Next week's theme is "Money, Money, Money," while the subsequent fortnight will be home to a two-part Christmas special (though I wager he'd take Hannukah and Kwanzaa trax as well). To find out how to participate, fly your tail feathers over here.

Though several tunes strutted their stuff and flashed their feathers in an attempt to woo me, it was Buffalo Tom's shrill screeching that won me over this week. However, also in the running were:

Lush - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (buy here for only $1.93!!)
Emma and Miki, the goddesses of shoegaze, turn this early 70s, proto-glam guano (remember Middle of the Road, anyone??) into sugar-spun gossamer. Recorded for the 1990 anti-poll tax album "Alvin Lives in Leeds."

Blackavar - Murder of Crows (buy here)
Please take your prozac before listening. A lovely, bleak, raw-voiced song off of the uneven eponymous album. And yes, I did post this a while back, but I'm happier now...

Hawkwind - Silver Machine (buy here)
It's got a bird in the group name, not the song title, which if we're being anal would have technically disqualified it. But it is a groovy, spacey, wibbler of a choon, so do come fly with a pre-Motorhead Lemmy. Factoid: The Sex Pistols opened with this number at their 2003 Crystal Palace reunion gig. It was actually quite wonderful...

You'll notice I have a photo of an owl up top. That's because they are my favourite birds, closely followed by ravens and crows. I'm not sure what it is about the nocturnal winged beasties that thrills me so, but thrill me they do. Actually, we're having a spot of bother at the moment with barred owls. You see, they've been attacking folks in nearby parks and woodlands. Yes, you read right, attacking. There have been signs up warning of the danger since August, but the owls were supposed to have ceased and desisted at the end of October. However, they still appear to be cranky; I just heard today of two new divebombing attacks in the neighbourhood. Scaaary stuff, but I still like them owls...

And finally, a power and weather update. Our electricity was off from 8AM to 8PM yesterday. While inconvenient, it was rather fun dining by candlelight and the kids thought it all a great adventure. Plus it was a good chance to chill (ho ho, how punny!) with Dearest Wife sans TV or computer distractions. This morning I figured the main roads were clear enough to drive on. However, I could not for the life of me get into the Pimpwagon - wet snow and minus nine temperatures had welded all the doors shut. So crowded bus it was. By this evening the car was cleared of snow and thawed of ice, so hopefully tomorrow will see me on the road again. Slow of speed and low of gear, methinks...

And so, to sleep, perchance to dream. Of owls. But not the bloodthirsty, blitzkrieg kind.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back East and Out West

Room with a View, Toronto, 21/11/06

Hello, Dear Friends! I'm back from Back East, and am glad that I am. Oh yes.

From a functional perspective, the trip was a success. Business was concluded. Faces were put to names. Nice people were met. Relationships were nurtured, both in office settings and over expense-account meals in chi-chi restaurants. Indeed, I filled my annual red meat quota with some lovely venison at Bistro & Bakery Thuet and a very nice filet mignon at the rather staid Barberian's Restaurant. Head was rested on a king-size bed in a 27th-floor room of a comfy but cookie-cutter downtown hotel. All very satisfactory.

All that said, I don't like Toronto.

Clearly it is a city that's trying very hard. Yonge Street is ablaze with neon lighting and video displays, all attempting to invoke the brio and esprit of Picadilly Circus, or perhaps Times Square. Skyscrapers soar purposefully - in the name of commerce, and of cosmopolitan, condominium living. But I found no soul, only the steely, hard edge that cuts through so many metropolises. And speaking to its denizens, it is apparent that it suffers from urbanitis: lengthy and frustrating commutes, elongated working hours, and individuals isolated amidst the multitude.

Radio 4 - Save Your City (buy here or e-here)

Despite my general opinion of the city, I was happy to rediscover and spend my one free evening most enjoyably at Sam the Record Man's emporium. Sam's is something of an odd beast, much like a cross between HMV and a local, independent record shack. It boasts stock levels to rival the megastores, yet has wonderful pockets of eclectica and a laid-back staff. I left with a clutch of CDs, including a copy of Morrissey's "Your Arsenal" at the bargain price of three bucks. Result! But it was a Romeo Void compilation that I was most pleased to unearth. For my money, "Never Say Never" may well be the perfect Noo Wave track, with its dripping anomie, atomaton guitars, droning sax, and sleazy lyrics - "I might like you better if we slept together." Oh, my!!

Romeo Void - Never Say Never (buy here)

CDs in hand, I was most pleased to board my Friday flight Out West to Vancouver. My seat neighbour was something of a kindred spirit, having chucked it all in and moved, along with his daughter and wife, from Nottingham to Vancouver. We had a good natter comparing notes, and neither of us had any regrets. As our five-hour flight neared its end and the plane prepared to land, we both gazed out the window at the frost-dusted North Shore mountains. The afternoon sun stroked the peaks and made them glow with golden welcome. I am home, I thought to myself, and felt very contented.

My contentment is continuing, despite a strong dose of meterological incongruity. While I was in Toronto - a city (in) famous for its Arctic freezes and prodigous snow - the weather was sunny and temperatures most benign. However, here in Vancouver, where winter is usually a pussycat, albeit often a very damp one, we are groaning under a foot of snowfall and shivering through a freezly minus three cold snap. Yes, yes, Mr Mentok, I'm well aware it's minus fifteen in Saskatchewan. But we are gentle, fairer folk on the West Coast, and unused to such conditions. Plus our water is still turbid...

I must say, though, it was magical to wake up this morning to a pure white, silent, snow-muffled world. And even more enchanting to have the opportunity to build, along with Darling Daughter and Little Man, a wonderfully lumpen snowthing. We kicked it Old Skool, complete with twigs for arms and carrot for nose. And so I present to you our First Official Snowman of the season. I am sure you will agree he's a fine fellow.

Although we have a moratorium on Chrimbo music in our household until December (enforced unflinchingly by Dearest Wife), I couldn't resist posting The Ronettes's sublime version of "Frosty the Snowman" in celebration of FrankenFrosty's birth. It just seemed so right.

The Ronettes - Frosty the Snowman (buy here)

And so, to bed. I have no idea how I'm getting to work tomorrow, but the contingency plan is a 90-minute walk...

UPDATE 27/11/06 8:45 AM: Well, I managed to get into work this morning, though it took me just over an hour on a circuitous bus route. That said, it was still a shorter commute than my old regular one back in London. Ah, perspective. However, power is out across large swathes of the Vancouver area, our neighbourhood included. So fret not if you don't hear from me much. But hey, it's all an adventure!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Toronto Calling

Hello.... Do you read me? Over.... Bzzzpt... This is FiL... Over...

Well, this is fun! Here I am in sunny (for real!) Toronto, using my corporate-issue Blackberry to post. Truth is, this wee device isn't geared for lengthy epistles - my thumbs are cramping and my word count is limited. So I'll wish you well, keep it brief, and offer you this:

The Soviettes - Land of Clear Blue Radio

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Up On The Roof, 19/11/06

And now, Dear Readers, the word of the week: turbidity. That is, cloudiness. Murkiness. Sediment stirred up and suspended.

Last week the Greater Vancouver area was lashed by a particularly virulent winter storm. The wind and rain knocked out power (in some places for up to 48 hours), felled trees, damaged buildings, and closed roads. Chateau FiL escaped relatively unscathed; the lights stayed on and the three stratospheric fir trees in our back garden stood strong. There were a few fallen branches that would have given me or Dearest Wife quite a headache had we been taking out the rubbish at the wrong hour, but thankfully our timing was good.

Our main inconvenience has been the need to boil our water. You see, the authorities have advised that the storm has washed unprecedented amounts of sediment into Vancouver's rerservoirs, therefore increasing the theoretical risk of bacterial growth. So best not to drink or brush your pearly whites with untreated tap water. Actually, the boffins said: "As turbidity increases, there is a potential for increased risk of gastro-intestinal illness. Until turbidity returns to acceptable levels residents may wish to use an alternate drinking water source ... or boil their drinking water." I pictured the press release being written by Muppet Beaker. As a sign of our modern times, Dear Friends, Vancouverites reacted by cleaning out every shop of bottled water. "Why boil? I want my water NOW! Instant gratification, please. What's that? Landfill? Discarded plastic bottles? I don't understand what you're trying to say."

The Buff Medways - Misty Water (buy here)

Actually, for FiL the storm had the proverbial silver lining, in the form of a silver car. You see, on Wednesday I had taken the family car for servicing. Not the Squealing Pigmobile, but our Golden Pimpwagon: an airbag-laden, cream-leather-seated (Oh, yeah, baby!!) Volvo V40. However, the garage was caught in one of the power outages and I therefore had to drive the loaner car, a 2006, 2.5 litre, turbo S60 sedan for three day instead of the one. Oh, the hardship. Dearest Friends, I'm really not a car aficionado, but it was rather fun driving around in that overpowered executive chariot.

The Divine Comedy - Your Daddy's Car (buy here)

Coincidentally, as Vancouver scurried to recover from the storm, I found myself sitting in a hotel ballroom listening to four experts discuss disaster preparadeness and business continuity. You know, how to keep your firm working even when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are sweeping across the land. They talked about Asian flu pandemics, of the coming Big Quake, of fires, of floods, and spooky terrorists. I have very mixed feelings on this whole matter. On the one hand, it is valuable to be prepared. Fire extinguishers in the kitchen, blankets in the car, that sort of thing. Yes, we have our recommended five-day supply of food and water in the garage, just in case of earthquake. But on the other hand, I'm wary of people's fear being whipped up into a paralyzing froth of paranoia and anxiety. Yes, the world is a dangerous place with much that can hurt you. But it is also one of great beauty and wonder. Spend your life hiding in an emotional or physical fallout shelter, and you'll miss so much.

Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick (buy here)
Iggy Pop & The Stooges - Shake Appeal (buy here)
Prodigy - Firestarter (buy here)
Caesars - Don't Fear The Reaper (buy here)

Back to the weather. As I type I'm seeing the sun for the first time in eons. For today, the weatherman forecast more rain and wind. Indeed, since even before last week's storms we've been under one of those wintery palls that makes you feel like dawn hasn't properly dawned all day. Your watch says high noon, but the sediment of grey clouds suspended in the sky tell your heart and spirit that its twilight. And though I find Vancouver gorgeous in any conditions, it has been hard going to remain sunny of disposition. I've also been experiencing a spot of emotional turbidity as well, almost as if nature's huffing and puffing has stirred up more than just mud. Lately I have found myself musing on relationships, in the broadest sense of the word. With people, living and dead, near and far, intimate and distant. With events, long gone, recently past, and in the present. With myself. But the dust motes that float in the dull rays filtering through the window are a salutory reminder that everything, including turbidity, is transitory.

Love & Rockets - It Could Be Sunshine (buy here or e-here)

Post scriptum: For most of the coming week I will be in the throbbing metropolis of Toronto on business. I will therefore probably not have much, if any, opportunity to blog (though I may have a cunning plan). So if indeed I am scarce, that is why.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Vanaqua, 12 Nov 2006

Dear Friends, I had intended to post something substantial tonight, but it is not to be. While I type, my head is literally nodding and lurching as I fight off sleep. I am drifting along the liminal shallows between the sands of consciousness and the deep of slumber, no longer certain whether the fantastical creatures I am seeing are real or surreal.

Alas, I must away. A polychromatic hyrax in a coracle is rowing me out to sea...

Psychic TV - Just Drifting (buy here)
Olivia Tremor Control - Define a Transparent Dream (buy e-here)
Styx - Come Sail Away (buy here)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Side One, Track One

Like clockwork, the Mighty Tim Young has today delivered our weekly edition of Contrast Podcast. This week we are treated to an entire virtual album of killer kick-off tunes. You know, those Side One, Track One songs that start off a record/CD by sending shivers down your spine. So prepare your vertebral column accordingly.

You can download the podcast here, or use this handy-dandy RSS feed to subscribe: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ContrastPodcast

And so, without further ado, a record full of opening tracks:

(00:36) Sonic Youth - Dirty boots
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock

(05:43) Bob Marley - Keep on moving
Simon from You can call me Betty

(09:54) David Bowie - Five years
Michael from The Yank Sizzler Podcast

(15:15) Spank Rock - Backyard Betty
Bethanne from CTASLS

(19:28) Thragedium - Cupidus Gloriae
Marcos from Mindboosternoori

(21:55) Hope of the States - The black amnesias
Tim The Daily Growl

(27:23) The Stooges - Search and Destroy
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(31:26) Butthole Surfers - Sweat loaf
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(36:21) Bruce Springsteen - Thunder road
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(42:03) Matthew Jay - Let your shoulder fall
Alex (who might get a website one day)

(46:56) Weezer - Tired of sex
Tim from FunFunFun

(50:10) Elvis Costello - Beyond Belief
Fraser from BKYLN song of the day

(53:43) Diffuser - I am
Andy from Circles of Concrete

(57:56) Nerf Herder - Vivian
Tom from Other People’s Toys

(01:01:20) The Gift - Front of
Nuno from Undercover Songs

(01:08:28) Guided by Voices - Hardcore UFOs
Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(01:10:38) The Sex Pistols - Holidays in the sun
FiL from Pogoagogo

For me, this week was a no-brainer. "Holidays in the Sun" is, hands down, my favourite album opener. Period. Indeed, I've poked around my record box for other potential candidates, but have come up with precious little apart from an old 45 single adaptor and a worn-out turntable belt. Oh, and this gem, which is indeed precious, kicks off the magnificent Doolittle, and makes this chien andalousia dance like Ian Curtis on crank:

Pixies - Debaser (buy here or e-here)

But that is a paltry offering indeed, though the quality be high. So to float further down this stream of consciousness, here are two tracks by ex-Pistol singer John Lydon that also make me boogie.

Public Image Limited - Bad Life (buy here)
An oft-maligned bit of Lydon's work, methinks. I love the menacing edge and tribal drums set against the disco-esque beat.

Leftfield & Lydon - Open Up (buy here)
Alright, not the best of the lot, but I appreciated hearing the shrill & snarl of Johnny's voice at those 1994 indie discos. Actually, the best Lydon collaboration was "World Destruction" with Afrika Bambaataa. That rocked summat fierce. But I posted it not all that long ago, so am loath to do so again. Unless it really means that much to you...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Of Course You Realise This Means GWAR...

Dearest Friends, you may laugh, but tonight I'm off to see GWAR. I'm not entirely sure why I'm going, but I think it's largely due to idle curiosity. I mean, their support crew has to mix up 30 gallons of fake blood for each show. That's got to be worth seeing, if only to say at cocktail parties that you have.

GWAR - Tormentor (buy here or e-here)

See Oderus Urungus and Beefcake the Mighty interviewed by Joan Rivers here. I couldn't make this stuff up.

EDIT: Friday, 1:19 AM. I just got in and am still trying to process what I just saw. It was the grandest of Grand Guignol, tasteless, gross, and OTT. There were decapitations. Avulsions. There was prosthetic onanism. President Bush got his skull split open. Fluids gushed aplenty. I was peed on by Oderus (at least I think it was pee) and spattered with "blood".

The music? Loud. Thrash. Metal. Unremarkable, to my taste, when standalone, but galvanizing in the live context. Oh, and Devin Townsend came onstage and sang a couple of songs with them. Apparently he means something to metalheadz. He has good lungs. And I had bags of fun.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Contrast Podcast is out. When? Right now! Oh, I see. Ahem. that's actually the theme of this week's episode. As usual, the Dear Contributors have created a lovely pot-luck smorgasbord for your delectation, with each musical dish containing that key ingredient, the word "when." Hustle to the table and download the podcast using the direct link or book yourself a recurring reservation using this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ContrastPodcast.
And so, a table. Quand? Tout de suite!!

(00:00) Alasdair Roberts - When a man’s in love he feels no cold (Planet Claire session)
Tim from The Face of Today

(04:39) Bony Bikaye - When doves cry
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(08:14) Mission of Burma - That’s when I reach for my revolver
Michael from The Yank Sizzler Podcast

(12:27) George Formby - When I’m cleaning windows
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock

(15:23) Elvis Costello - When I was cruel
Lyle from Mentok the Mindtaker

(23:15) The Jesus and Mary Chain - Happy when it rains
Nuno from Undercover Songs

(27:27) Love spit love - It hurts when I laugh
Alex (who still doesn’t have a website!)

(32:17) Everclear - When it all goes wrong again
Tom from Other People’s Toys

(36:54) The Good Life - What we fall for when we’re already down
Bethanne from CTASLS

(40:25) Swag - When she awoke
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(44:48) The Rocking Horse Winner - When songbirds sing
Andy from Circles of Concrete

(49:12) The Posies - When mute tongues can speak
Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(53:06) Idlewild - When I argue I see shapes
Tim from FunFunFun

(57:41) Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - I should have kissed you when I had the chance
FiL from Pogoagogo

(59:38) Ella Fitzgerald - When my sugar walks down the street
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

Get your thinking caps on for next week's theme, "Best Album Openers," and go here to find out how to contribute.

This week there was only one song in the collection that jumped out at me with a back story. Apologies, Dear Friends, but I must admit I got all emo on you. I should be careful, as you know what happens to emo kids of all ages... Anyway, there were a couple of tracks that I considered briefly, but they don't merit a mention. No, really. Look, you'll be sorry, trust me. Don't make me do it! Please, don't ask again!

Alright you win. But don't say I didn't warn you:

Doris Day - When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along (buy here)

Dead Kennedys - When Ya Get Drafted (buy here)

Actually, the second one is not so bad. And it sort of ties in nicely with a bit of good news we received this weekend. Dearest Wife's Cousin returned last week from his tour in Iraq, all safe and sound. I think he's now off snowboarding somewhere that is as diametrically opposed as possible to the hot, dusty field post he was based at during the past year. He is thrilled to be back, but he does have over a year left in the Army, plus several more as a reservist. We're hoping he doesn't get sent back, but let's focus on the here and now: Welcome home, Dear Cousin-in-Law.

Dear Friends, I try not to wander into realms political here at pogo a go-go, but I am so incensed and sorrowful that human lives and resources are being squandered on an ill-conceived campaign of dubious motivation. The Iraqi adventure is a complete moral, civic, and geopolitical disaster. It was launched under the false pretense of thwarting a clear and present danger (imminent use of WMDs) and has pushed Iraq to the brink of becoming a failed state of the kind that incubated the murderous hatemongers responsible for 9/11.

I recall corresponding on the eve of the Iraqi campaign with a friends whose work takes them frequently to The Pentagon. They relayed to me then the deep unease that US military officers were expressing to him about the then-impending campaign. These soldiers fretted about the WMD allegations, about the aim of the war, about the limited resources allocated to the task. But, as is fitting and right in a democracy, they took their guidance from civilian leadership. And, sadly, they were right to worry.

One more point, Dear Friends (and I hope we still are friends, even if you do not share my view): if you are American, get out and vote today. It's your right, and therefore your responsibility.

Right, I'll put the soapbox away now, but will leave out these ditties for your consideration:

Tiger Lillies - War (buy here or e-here)

The Jam - Little Boy Soldiers (buy here)

IDC - Safe From US (check out IDC here)

Memo to self: You must do a full post on the deliciously sordid Tiger Lillies someday soon. Their twistedness deserves to be spread far and wide...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Care to Chat?

Evening Orchid
2 November 2006

Ah, Dearest Friends, how good of you to drop by. It seems like ages since we spoke. Yes, yes, I know we've exchanged hilarities over Contrast Podcast and all that. But we've not really chatted about how it's all going for some time now.

Well, I've just settled down in front of the (fake, gas) fire with a nice mug of tea and was planning to relax by watching reruns of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" or perhaps "Voyager," but I'd much rather have a natter with you. Here, have a seat on the sofa. Can I get you a cocoa or something? Oh, and do have a look at our orchid - rather splendid, isn't it?

You know, I've met two lovely new people recently. Fraser has recently been bitten by the Contrast Podcast bug and has his own place over at BKLYN Song Of The Day, whence he dispenses daily doses of ditties and general cheer of a good nature. And he's got fab earrings to boot. Liz I technically encountered a while back at the late, great blog Let's Kiss And Make Up (RIP). But it's only recently that I started to visit her Roaring Machine with any regularity. And what a wonderfully loud, existential noise it makes! Mix in a soundtrack that never disappoints and you'll understand why I pop round her way.

Our family Halloween was most enjoyable. As Dearest Wife, Little Man, and Darling Daughter were all donning their pirate garb, I spruced up the ghoulish decorations around our house of horror. The final touch? Sticking Nurse With Wound's "Spiral Insana" on repeat out in the front garden. Nothing like messing with wee minds. And here we are just before we sallied forth into the cold, cold night and plundered to our wicked hearts's content:

Oh, and a codicil to my Halloween music post: I've recently rediscovered that wonderful snippet of popgoth histrionics, Shriekback's "Nemesis." I simply adore the OTT lyrics, and I know of no other song that deploys the word "parthenogenesis" in quite the same way.

Shriekback - Nemesis (buy here)

What's that? What wedding? Oh, the Greek one that I DJed. Yes, I did promise to tell you all about that. Well, the wedding itself was lovely, as were the bride and groom. I'd never been to a Greek Orthodox ceremony before and it was all high church with stacks of chanting, smells & bells. The presiding priest was the splitting image of Bluto from Popeye, which was somewhat disconcerting, but the resemblance did add additional gravitas to the proceedings.

At the reception, I was supposed to tag-team with the bouzouki band. No problem. But soon I was to realize the full weight and might of the juggernaut that is Greek Culture. I started off spinning cocktail music, which went all swimmingly. Then the band and I interweaved during dinner, before they came on for a dancing sesh. Problem was, the Greeks didn't want the band to stop. The yayas, the fat men in ill-fitting suits, the glitzy glam Helens with mighty Aphrodite hairdos, they all danced their folk dances and sweated like nothing else mattered. And since my main concern as a DJ was that folk enjoyed themselves, that was absolute fine by me, except for two things.

First, the band played at Motorhead volumes, threatening to split skulls indiscriminately with their bludgeoning bouzoukis. Second, the non-Greek half of the 200-odd guests kept asking me when I was going to go on. How awkward. In the end, I managed to squeeze in only one half-hour of boogie, but I must say it did my heart a power of good to see the floor fill with people and sweat when I did. You see, though I DJed quite extensively while an undergrad (back in the days of vinyl), I hadn't spun the tunes for a good dozen years or so, apart from an evening DJing my daughter's preschool pool party in 2004. So I had seriously doubted whether any of my mojo remained. But I was pleased to see there appears to be a wee bit left in the tank. And I was most happy that I made people happy. But I didn't manage to work in that Greek heavy metal cover of OMD's "Enola Gay..."

Wolfcry - Enola Gay (buy here)

And how is it going in general, you ask? Quite well, I must say. However, I know there are thinks lurking in the underbrush. Much has happened in the past year, and though I have tried to reman mindful of it all, I am beginning to sense there are beasts that I have yet to face fully. Recently I've also heard the snuffling of the Black Dog, who is never a welcome visitor. But I'm hopeful I can keep it at bay.

And so, Dear Friend, it is late and I am feeling a bit tired. Perhaps we could just sit here and listen to a spot of music for a spell. I'd also love to hear how things are going with you, if you care to share. Do let me know if you'd like another mug of cocoa.

This Mortal Coil
- Mr Somewhere (buy here or e-here)