Sunday, December 31, 2006

36 chosen ones

Originally uploaded by

A random pile from my CDs, occasional tracks landing here.

Bit of a Brian Wilson and Miles Davis theme in this stack. Thank goodness I didn't sort them by music type or alphabetically!

Count how many you've heard of, count how many you own. I don't particularly crave order, it's just the statistician in me. Total out of 36.

Do go and search them out at Amazon
. They're all great!

Every generation has 36 righteous people (the "Lamed Vav Tzadikim") in whose merit the world continues to exist (according to judaism). So this post is in honour of the 36...

Happy new year!

Goodness Gracious

The killer doing his thing. Even lip-synched this still works wonders!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Wine bottle and glass
Originally uploaded by

It's been raining today, almost all day, and I was trapped inside with the spring-cleaning and I had to go out to the supermarket, which normally I would enjoy but our car is in the garage and so on and so forth...

Only one thing to do. Get the corkscrew Betty and put on some old time music...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Trafalgar Terrace

Trafalgar Terrace is a tiny twitten (alleyway) in the North Laine, just below Brighton station, with terraced cottages dating back to the 19th century on one side and their tiny gardens on the other.

It must also be a cat-free zone (bicycles are banned, obviously) as we saw a group of sparrows in one of the gardens eating merrily from a couple of bird-feeders. Didn't think there had been a resurgence of the beautiful little sparrow, so common when I was a child but now sadly in rapid decline (see article).

Today's music:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Feet

I love views of rooftops and skylines fascinate me. Don't know why.

Saw the most ridiculous film ever today - Happy Feet, a kind of baywatch-for-penguins with snow-for-sand and a Busby Berkley approach to musical. It's an animated kid's film, with an odd message about not messing with the food chain so penguins can continue to consume the fish stocks and escape from being eaten by big birds and fierce sealions, whose food chain clearly counts for naught because they aren't as cute and can't dance. What on earth this film is trying to teach our children I really don't know, unless it's something about the power of dance.

Entertaining in an odd way, but quite daft and whoever wrote it must be on the weirdest drugs.

By the way - the best place for penguins is Bolders beach, just outside of Cape Town in South Africa. A nice quiet beach, with lots and lots of penguins!

Listening to the excellent 1972 album from Prog-Folk duo Emtidi featuring German Maik Hirschfeldt and the Canadian Dolly Holmes (who also supplied some vocals for the Incredible String Band's Hangman's beautiful daughter).

Try this - starts quietly, then gets even better: "Don't sit on the grass, it's too cold for your ass" being a perfectly appropriate lyric at this point in mid-winter...

Feeling pastoral

Quiet family day in this small country town with the castle and cathedral and very little else apart from antique shops. Bought a book on Victorian art and culture. Took some photographs of the river.

There are some delightful aspects to the English small country town experience. Unfortunately, there are also too many things that irritate - whether the inevitable sinking feeling when you are greeted by the decor of your "bed and breakfast" accommodation, the self-satisfied snobbiness of the locals or the blandness of the historical, cultural, culinary experiences on offer. Our blessing was to 'enjoy' a cafe lunch in what could have been a delightful local watering hole, had it not been for the waitresses inability to be even the slightest bit accommodating, e.g. in allowing us to combine two tables or in leaving sausage and toast off the usual breakfast to benefit our caeliac sufferer etc, and had the food not looked like it had come straight from the local supermarket's pre-packaged-and-frozen-for-a-year counter.

Expecting a tip? The tip is - learn about customer service !

The above picture deserves some pastoral mucial accompaniment - folk-with-attitude - which speaks of some of what is good about the english countryside. Was thinking Nick Drake, or Keith Christmas, but have chosen this one by Bill Fay instead.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

In Wagamamas (two pixies, heavily pixelated)

Getting up late, wandering around the North Laine, lunch in wagamamas, Carol concert at the local church (with real live donkeys), dinner at home, cheesecake for dessert, a film on TV, wrapping presents, early to bed....

Seasons Greetings to everyone !

We are all oddballs

Listening to Richard Swift and John Hartford

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Dumb waiter cafe

Took my daughter out for a late breakfast/brunch at probably the best cafe in Brighton. It's name comes from the lift contraption they still use to send the plates of food up from the kitchen (remember the Pinter play?). The sausages are packed full of real meat (they do excellent veggie ones too) and those fried potatoes add something special to the plate. I had a cappucino but their milky chai tea is also fab.

The cafe's in Sydney Street in the delightful North Laine area.

Vote for the best caff in Brighton (or anywhere else)
here. And then play...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The burning of the clocks

Went to the Burning of the Clocks parade on the sea front tonight. Warmed by a bag of hot potato chips, it was fun to see all the paper lanterns, and their big bonfire and the fireworks. It's Brighton's very own modern winter solstice celebration which has only been going for about a decade but now appears to be a special non-commercial non-christian part of the local christmas calender.

I also saw an old episode of the Addams Family today, the one from the 1960s where the Standells come and take over their house. It was great.

I wanted to find Dirty Water ("You know I love that dirty water, Boston you're my home!") but don't appear to have it anymore - a loss from my last computer disaster - so it will have to be this one instead, celebrating a pagan festival of sorts...

Happy holidays

No work for two weeks. Thank God for Christmas!!
and to Pin Up Girl clothing for the photo

I really don't know what to do with myself, but do know that I cannot really be bothered to write anything at all, so this blog will be chock-full of inanities. So, what's new?

Two obscure 60s songs which somehow make me think of the winter and new year...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Humument

I've just noticed there's a website dedicated to one of my all-time favourite books, the Humument by Tom Phillips - a treated Victorian novel which turns into an artistic wonder and odd philosophical story about a man called Toge. Genius, and a continuing inspiration!

The Humument -
Tom Phillips -

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I've been tagged?!

My new New York pal Red Squirrel got tagged by one of her blogmates, the sum of which is that the tagged has to reveal six weird things about themselves. Having now revealed to the world her love of cutesy t-shirts with pictures of animals, which means she can no longer leave Brooklyn and emerge from the subway in the hipper neck of Greenwich Village (although we all know that at least 66% of said t-shirts were purchased there), she has now passed the baton to meself and Mrs H Brown. Grrr.

I asked the wife to help, and - after an undiplomatic pause - she said there really wasn't anything truly weird about me, wihch really wasn't very helpful (and untrue). However, after a bit of a struggle and threats to call the divorce lawyers, we came up with today's six choice weirdities for your delectation:

1. I collect stuff. Badly. Not just cool things like my 10" vinyl records of Vaughn Williams pastoral classical songs, old jazz EPs and Radiohead CD singles - all of which I develop an enthusiasm for, but then give up after purchasing about half a dozen or so said items. But weird things, like bottle caps from beer bottles (again, I have dozens, but none that are particularly rare or interesting), silly plastic superhero toys and those free postcards they give away in bars.

2. My fingers bend. To the right (on my right hand). It looks odd, although it probably is just early stages of arthritis. I blame it for my inability to replicate the more intricate guitar runs of Jim Hendrix, but to be honest that could just be my musical incompetence.

3. My scars don't heal. I have an appendix scar from when I was about 12, which hasn't much faded. I have a scar on the back of my neck from when I had a cyste removed. It looked really good after the operation with lots of what appeared to be little metal wires sticking out of my neck - but that was ten years ago. The scar's still there. I like to claim I got it in a knife fight with some Mexican drug barons. Of course, I didn't.

4. I have a phobia for DIY. Really, it isn't just laziness (well, it's probably fifty per cent laziness). It dates back to when we lived in a one bedroom housing association flat in a tenement block built in the late 19th century, and which was knocked down not long after we moved out. It probably had flaky walls. But I managed to decorate the flat, put up some heavy duty shelving for my record collection, and also a little shelf above the sink in the kitchen on which would sit our crockery and pots and pans. You can guess the rest. It wasn't pretty.

5. I cry at happy endings in movies. Sad films, depressing films, they don't move me. I sit there and contemplate howthe on-screen losers could better sort their lives out. But a happy ending gets me every time - be it a love story, or any old warm-hearted nonsense. My favourite films include the likes of "It's a wonderful life" at the end of which no human being could fail to shed tears. But the same happens at the wimpiest made-for-TV movie. It's embarrassing, but it could be worse. Give me a happy ending, and I'll hate you forever.

6. I buy books but I don't read them. See previous posting. It's a pointless addiction, and I really ought to get over it - but I have such a strong affection for books that it's hard to do. I grew up with books, they helped make me who I am, they have given me so much pleasure. They give you freedom, visions of the possible future and distant places, other lives. And they smell nice. But really... feeding my family I can afford to do, but I could be buying music and musical instruments and other things I'd love but not use. Why books?

OK. that's all she wrote.
Now my task is to find some other
saps to pass the baton to,
so I'm gonna tag my web-mates
and look forward to
more embarrassing on-screen revelations.
I'm also gonna do a reverse tag on Squirrel, as soon as I get my breath back!

And now the obligatory mp3s,
only 30 years apart. including one from a fine Brooklyn band (LT)....

The Apostles - Six Pack (1969)

Ladybug Transistor - Six times (1999)

Who wants love without the looks?

Originally uploaded by Pesi.

"Who wants love without the looks?" Echo & The Bunnymen, read it in books

bib·li·o·phile (bbl--fl) also
bib·li·o·phil (-fl) or bib·li·oph·i·list (bbl-f-lst)
1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.
bibli·ophi·lism n.
bibli·ophi·listic adj.

I was reading Terence Blacker's article in yesterday's Independent (the only newspaper worth reading) entitled Why I've joined the ranks of the non-readers with a glow of recognition.

I have an ever-growing pile of unread books taking over my office, and I really need to get real and accept the fact that I am an ex-reader now, no more a bibliophile,one who no longer frequents libraries and bookshops. I have bought some wonderful books lately, and it's not as if I buy the latest hit novels or 5 star reviews and then realise they're all worthless. I have Michael Brocken's Bacharach; Maestro: The Life of a Pop Genius, Neil Kent's Helsinki: A Cultural and Literary History, Meyer and Oberman's Mothers Who Kill Their Children - all sitting, waiting, looking eager to be read. But have I opened them yet? No. I even started AM Holmes' The End of Alice. I know it's a great book - I know the subject matter could be off-putting, but not for me - I know I would even enjoy it...

It's just that I no longer read books.

Joe Tex - Buying a book mp3

It's an addiction. I need to stop!! Maybe there's an Allen Carr Easyway book that can help?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Favourite albums of 2006

I have actually managed to buy and listen to a lot of new music this year, although there seems to be a surfeit of it around at present. As usual, every magazine end-of-year list has been deeply unimaginative and chart-based, so here's mine, albeit similarly unimaginative and chart-based (but at least subjectively quirky and personal, hmm - there's something oddly homo-erotic in list-making; what with all the phalocentric boastful comparisons etc)

  1. Flaming Lips - At War with the Mystics Try Free radicals mp3

  2. Thunderegg - Open Book Try I'm A Fool Again mp3

  3. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers

  4. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

  5. Kelley Stoltz - Below The Branches Try Memory Collector mp3

  6. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

  7. Bob Dylan - Modern Times

  8. Dresden Dolls - Yes Virginia Try Dirty Business mp3

  9. Viva Voce - Get Yr Blood Sucked Out

  10. Holden - Chevrotine

  11. Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang Try Cuckoo mp3

  12. Howe Gelb - 'Sno Angel Like You

  13. Martha Tilston - Rope Swing

  14. Circulus - The Lick on the Tip of an Envelope Yet to be Sent Try Swallow mp3

  15. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat

  16. Decembrists - The Crane Wife

  17. Jenny Wilson - Love and Youth

  18. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

  19. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone

  20. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

Compilations and reissues? I suppose Thunderegg's Open Book tops the list, but also enjoyed the Nigeria '70 compilation tho' can't recall if that was this year and if anyone fancies buying me the Forever Changing: the Golden Age of Elektra 1963-1973 box set, well, please don't restrain yourself...

But it's a bad idea to write these lists in early December, as I would now want to include the Jarvis Cocker 'Jarvis' (Xmas present), Snowglobe's 'Oxytocin' (Recent recommendatino from Will and Jen) and Destroyer 'Destroyer's Rubies' (Recent random web purchase) in the list.

And the track of the year? This was the one that captured my heart in about week three, and then stayed there....

with the Charlotte Gainsbourg (& Air) 'the song that I sing', Flaming Lips 'the WAND', Raconteurs 'Steady as she goes' and Belle & Sebastian's 'For the price of a cup of tea' fleshing out my top five.


at Amazon

here at

The amazing Southcoasting Christmas CD bonanza store!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ode to the 29th November edition of the Independent

I was meaning to post a short homage to my favourite newspaper a week or two ago but ended up with no time, so it's a bit odd to be lauding a particular day's print a bit late, but what the hell.

I love the Independent newspaper. It really is the only newspaper I read at all these days, and in a time where news is readily accessible over the internet or in the free newspapers that are fighting for arm-room on my mainline station forecourts both morning and evening, it manages to carve out a special place of its own.

The newspaper is relatively new, being born twenty years ago out of a journalistic rebellion against the stranglehold of the likes of Rupert Murdoch at the Times and Lord Halliwell at the Daily Telegraph. It had some rough times in the mid-1990s, but seems to have stabilised now with a circulation of around a quarter of a million. More recently, it was also the first broadsheet to go 'compact', and did so without losing any of its depth or style.

It has one main story on each cover,which is usually a big issue which is worth writing about - the Iraq war, the Environment, a major political debate or social issue etc. It has some wonderful columnists, the hilarious (Deborah Ross, Miles Kington, trigger happy Dom Joly), the entertaining (the artist Tracey Emin, Blur's Alex James) and the politically astute (Deborah Orr, John Rentoul, Yasmin-Alibhai-Brown, Johann Hari). The arts and review section on a Friday is just right, and an essential weekly catch up on new releases and new books. And it has three Sudoku puzzles each day (three - count 'em and weep).

Take the edition of 29th November 2006, which for me was a bit of a classic.

For my 70 pence ($1.40) I got...

Joe Queenan's all American road trip
the film critic who wrote a book about making a movieon his credit card overdraft takes every boy's dream trip of a lifetime and rediscovers middle America

Claudia Winkleman boys and girls chat
a really funny recognition of, yes - we are different (and boys/girls talk funny)

Deborah Orr
Astute commentary, as ever, on a particularly touching and horrific element of life in Britain

Simon Carr on political life
Another sketch from our observer in the absurd playhouse that is the Mother of all Parliaments

Mile Kington - cross design
The funniest columnist in the world, and has bene for decades. How he keeps it up is a miracle

Cameron Diaz
Not by her, but an interview with everyone's favourite Californian no-longer-blonde actress

Strawberry Fields Forever
An article on the making of the classic Beatles track. Unnecessary for fans, but of course a delight to find in your daily mash of news

Convinced yet?

Anyway, in honour of the Indy,


"I read the news today, oh boy..."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Trumpets in the Rain

the awesome June Brides

It's England. It's Autumn/Winter. It's raining. What else is there ...apart from a gorgeous 7 inch single by the June Brides from 1984? Dig that crazy trumpet Snowglobe, the wonderful Happy is it's bastard son! But anyway - here's to ringing in the changes...

The June Brides - In the Rain

There are loads of scratchy June Brides videos on YouTube too.

Snowglobe - Changes

Now, why is every blogger on earth starting to post Xmas songs already? It's getting worse than the shops. And Christmas songs are not good! Bloggers, STOP, now! More bah, more humbug, more good music.

Absent yourself from Christmas-dementia before it's too late!

Friday, December 01, 2006


ScrittiTickitti, originally uploaded by Southcoasting.

Last post from LA, I think.

Went to see Scritti Politti on Sunset Boulevard on my first night in LA. Was wandering down past the Roxy, about quarter to ten, asked at the door and they still had tickets. That would never happen in England. Couldn't believe it. The band played some new songs (Boom Boom Bap) and some old (Skank Bloc Bologna, The Sweetest Girl) and some hits (Word Girl). Green kept apologising - but they were great. Such a sweet voice, such brilliant songs.

Scritti Politti - The Sweetest Girl

And the following night I got to see a variety of bands in the tiny Kat Club just down the street which was basically a tiny bar that had the cheek to charge $8 to see four local acts. Most of the audience was dressed up for Halloween and had come to see one act - who was fine in a Tori Amos dresden Dolls kinda way, but a bit up herself. When she was finished the bar pretty much emptied, which was really annoying (I mean - rent a crowd, but tell 'em to have the decency to cheer the other acts).

I would have felt ripped off had Taylor Cornell not been playing. She was superb - great voice, great songs.

Check her out here on myspace.

And so long LA, I hope to see you again....

LAX airport