Monday, 31 October 2011

60 Squirrels!

Squirrels to the left, gift shop to the right!
Friday, last day of Autumn half-term? It must be the annual trip to Brownsea Island to go squirrel-spotting! Previous years have been variously damp, wet, drizzly, etc, but never ever gloriously sunny! Red squirrels must really love the sunshine, because they were out in force last week. They were everywhere you looked - acrobatting around in the treetops, snuffling about in the leaf litter, generally fussing like fluffy tailed fusspots collecting nuts for the winter.

Last year's 21 was the most we'd ever seen in one day, so this year's 60 was extraordinary! Such a pity they no longer live on the mainland. Grey squirrels are cute (in an aggressive kind of way), but reds are pointy-eared darlings!

Until next year...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Got, Not Got

Big Roger relaxing with his favourite book.
It's the new thing! All about old things!

Reader's voice: "What is this new thing all about old things to which you refer?"

Got, Not Got, that's what!

Gorgeous George.
This is a call to all those men who were boys in the 1960s, '70s and '80s (and some women who were girls too!). You threw away all your old Panini sticker albums when you hit 19, didn't you? You had to make space in your leaving-home bag for your new, important adult things - Joy Division albums and Dostoyevsky novels and suchlike - you were nearly twenty and there was no more room for childhood frivolity in your life. Okay, you may not have thrown them away, but you might have sold them for 25p at a car boot sale, or given them to the PDSA charity shop. They were nothing but clutter at the time. You did the same with your collection of Shoot! magazines and league ladders; bubblegum cards and garden goals went the same way.

Now you're 43, and you're pining for these things to come back into your messy, ever more cluttered adult life, aren't you? You've just spent £65 on a complete, VG condition Football 78 sticker album on eBay, haven't you? Or your final bid of £60 with three seconds to go wasn't enough, because there's someone out there more desperate to return to their childhood than you.

Well, your childhood isn't going to return, but there are people out there who share the same memories as you, and they've written them all down for you. They've taken full-colour pictures too, and sprinkled them all over their new thing like football-shaped hundreds-and-thousands.

Leicester City fanzine writer Gary Silke and indiepop legend Derek Hammond have produced a stonking new book called Got, Not Got. It's an encyclopaedia of shared football memories, written with a little yearning and a whole lot of affection for times past.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I'm excited! Three of my pictures have been printed in the book, including the Hama Bestie that first appeared on Pleasure City Avenue last year!

What do you need to do? Start dropping hints to your loved ones straight away: "I would very much like to have a copy of Got, Not Got for Christmas, please" (don't forget the 'please'); and then put the book at the top of your prezzie list, double-underlined.

And if you can't wait that long? Trundle down to your local book shop and buy one yourself! And what if you receive another one on Christmas day? You'll need it, because the first one will be so dog-eared through love and laughter by then that you'll need a new, mint condition copy to start reading it all over again.

And if you study the book carefully, you may even spot the odd Fall song title. It's the new thing!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Notes - Fearless

Good news for fans of The Notes! They have a new download album available for free from Bandcamp! It's a mixture of re-recorded old songs and instrumentals. Although, with the exception of Lost For Days, all these tunes were new to me.

It's not a "proper" album, but then again, it's way better than the usual collection of outtakes and oddities. Best of all, it's FREE! So, there's nothing to lose by investigating.

Have a listen to the title track, Fearless. It's the missing thirteenth song from their marvellous, swishing, swooping debut, Wishing Well - doubtless left off to increase sales amongst the triskadecophobic community.

Listen to Bourgeois. Coming straight at you from a piss-stained concrete dystopia where it rains actual excreta, circa 1980. Would have fitted perfectly in to a Peel show of the time, bookended by the likes of Young Marble Giants and The Chameleons.

Then listen to Lost For Days. Delicate and perfect, like a rusty autumn leaf in the split second before it blows to the ground, only to be spoilt in the gutter.

Come to think of it, you really should listen to the whole thing.