Category Archives: Song of the week

The Last Mile by Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris

A have long been fond of the work of electric violinist and longtime Zappa collaborator Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris’s improvisation laden music. When in form, his is music with a caustic edge of brilliance, technical mastery and some of the most viscerally heart wrenching blues you’ve ever heard. He was a versatile and prolific musician whose contributions to famous works often sadly overshadowed his own solo work, which remains under-appreciated by the mainstream.

But this track I’ve recently discovered instantly shot to near the top of my all-time favourites. Haunting, lively and effortlessly cool, it crept under my skin and stayed there. I hope you like it too.



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Strange Love- Koop [Saturday Song of the Week #16]

Cheap, lazy copy and paste job here:

‘When listening to Koop’s music it’s somehow easy to believe that it’s played by a small orchestra, but in fact the music is based on samples. Thousands of small clips from records puzzled together into new songs. All the drums, strings, horn sections and choirs are actually sampled! This is a very time consuming way to make music (it’s one of the reasons it takes such long time to make a koop album), but it’s the only way to create the surreal Koop sound. One thing though, that for sure aren’t sampled, is the vocals. Many singers has blessed the Koop albums with their talent, and on Koop Islands the singers are : Ane Brun, Yukimi Nagano, Hilde Louise Asbjornsen, Rob Gallagher and Mikael Sundin. Strange Love is sung by Hilde Louise Asbjornsen and is taken from the album “Koop Islands”.

Stay tuned for a special bumper post on the NHS tomorrow!

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Light at the end of the tunnel (+SOTW)

Ladies and Gentlemen I have returned to the blogosphere! And I have brought a digital party horn!

That’s right, your one stop blog for enlightened writing and exciting gossip (about moi) is back! Due to this blog’s astronomical entertainment value I often compare it to the Daily Mail, minus the factual inaccuracy, braggadocio racism, casual sexism and generalised ignorance and bigotry. So actually not a huge amount like the Mail.

(This is what happens when I have writer’s block; I stare blankly at the screen for about an hour and then spew a stream of silliness because it’s easier that way. I apologise unreservedly.)

So, here we are. 2013. I have just under 2 months left at Peacock, which means I have either 2 or 3 months left before I get to see everyone back home again (Huzzah, huzzah and thrice times huzzah at that prospect!). Why the indeterminate length of time? Well, my good friend Oscar and I plan to go on a roadtrip on the east coast for a month at the end of my stay here culminating in a visit to New York to see The Book of Mormon. I simply cannot wait. However, in order for this tantalising dream to become reality, I must first persuade the US government that I am not a terrorist, nor a mexican immigrant, nor a political dissident (ha!) and should be allowed to stay in the country for that extra month. I have already paid the obligatory $280 bribe (or ‘fee’ as they call it) to have my visa extended but the waiting time is so perilously long (2 and a half months on average), and the process so absurdly arbitrary that there is a real and present danger that all my grand scheming shall come to naught.

But no matter how long the remainder of my time in the USA turns out to be, there is a distinct sliver of light at the end of the tunnel in which I find my self. Now this tunnel is not altogether unpleasant; it may be a bit lonely and restrictive (claustrophobic even) but the land of milk and honey awaiting me on the other side will no doubt seem all the more wonderful for having had such an experience beforehand.

The last few weeks have been an exceptionally busy time. The main event of it all was the visit of my Parents and Louise. Between spotting increasing volumes of iguanas, fat people, exotic birds, lizards, and cruise ships, we managed to fit in visits to Ernest Hemingway’s house (where they have 6 toed cats!), the botanic gardens, the coral reef (twice) and a sangria-drenched sunset sail amongst other wonders. Since then we had a New Year’s Day meal which I was in charge of, and I did 30 (count ’em) seasoned pork chops on the barbecue. By all accounts they were delicious, the evening was a tremendous success, and I am a saint.

In other news I got an offer for Politics at Durham. My SOAS/LSE/Durham trilemma remains unresolved, but thank you anyway admissions tutors.

And with that (and this),

…I will bid you Sayonara


Filed under Key West, Song of the week

Carry on Wayward Son- Maniacal 4 Trombone Quartet [Saturday Song of the Week #14]

Not my favourite song in the world, but this cover version is just so magnificently put together that I had to share it. Wait… you can make a trombone sound like an electric guitar now?

Post on the Leveson Inquiry going up first thing in the morning, so watch out cats!

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Milestones [+SOTW]

It has been a week of milestones.

Monday was the 3rd of December, thus marking the halfway point for my stay in Key West. I miss you all, but light is at the end of the tunnel!!

Tuesday marked the 19th anniversary of the death of Frank Zappa, who died on the same day in 1993 at the tragically young age of 52. Cruelly, he died of prostate cancer despite having lead a relatively healthy life for a rock musician (his only vice was cigarettes). During his fight with cancer, he worked 14 hours a day on tying together the many loose ends his endlessly creative mind had left him with, to protect and preserve the remarkable legacy his music leaves us. I wish he was still alive.

I would have dedicated this week’s song to Zappa, my musical idol, if it weren’t for the fact that Wednesday saw the death, 1 day short of his 92nd birthday, of Dave Brubeck, popular jazz composer who pioneered the use of unusual time signatures in Jazz. His 2 ‘classic’ compositions, Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk have doubtless been played ad nauseam to mark his passing, so I include my favourite of the less known pieces below with some fantastic dancing to accompany.

On Thursday and Friday nothing much happened. K-Midz left hospital and there was an Earthquake in Japan? Will that do to preserve the theme?

Today’s (yes, it is still Saturday here, by a whisker) milestone comes in the form of a club-record 9 games unbeaten in the top flight for Norwich City, following the white knuckle ride of the 3-4 win over Swansea (it was 0-3 to us at half time!).

And tomorrow marks 2 weeks before my family gets here. Somebody’s a bit excited for that one…


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Killing me Softly- Youngblood Brass Band [Song of the Week #12]

I do like me a bit of Youngblood Brass Band. Playing Brooklyn at the Music Society Dinner and the End of Year Assembly with the No-name band will doubtless remain one of my fondest memories (thank you all, once again, for agreeing to play it with me y’all). But it’s time for something new, so here I proudly present YBBB’s cover version of Killing me Softly, from the album ‘Live. Places.’. It was recorded live. At a place (if you listen to the announcer at the end it would appear that this place was in Britain!).

Getting hold of YBBB records on CD is difficult, but should be easier in the US than in the UK, but annoyingly enough a US postal address and a UK billing address won’t fly, so I’m stuck now until I return.

P.S. I have a kickass post about the cliffhanger at the end of Sherlock to post tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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The Problem- Godley & Creme [Saturday song of the week #11]

Thursday this week was Thanksgiving. We cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for the residents on Wednesday which was one of the more stressful events of my stay here! I was relegated mainly to prep work, which whilst it had the advantage of me not being in a position to ruin anything, did mean I ended up chopping, cleaning and peeling all day. So not the best of fun, but a strangely relaxing experience nonetheless.

I didn’t feel in the best of moods today, and I couldn’t quite seem to get anything done. Even procrastination was a struggle, in fact. Perhaps I discovered a way to inflict procrastination on procrastination. This blog very nearly did not get done in time either: it’s 23:23 as I sit down to write it. In keeping with the rest of the day, I am (for the first time!) somewhat lacking in inspiration

The song I’ve chosen is about a problem. A maths problem as impossible to solve as a bad mood, as complicated as a bad mood and as frustratingly opaque as a bad mood. But don’t take it too seriously!

Gah, somebody give me a shot of Serotonin already.

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