Our neighbour’s second single and another cracker.
You saw it here first!
See her live at;
March 8 – Proud Camden – London
March 19 – Oporto – Leeds
March 25 – Blues Kitchen – London
March 31 – Smokestack – Leeds
April 6 – Greystones – Sheffield
April 18 – Voodoo Rooms – Edinburgh
June 24 – The Islington – London
Filed under: Uncategorized, books, humour, creativity | Tags: jon ronson, the psychopath test, psycopaths, sociopaths, mental health, mental wellbeing
I’m new to Jon Ronson. This was a gift so I approached with no preconceptions.
At first I was bowled over by his really great writing style. Self deprecating, very amusing and, well, bloggish. But as the book wore on, despite remaining constantly interesting, I began to wonder what the point of it was.
It’s neither a text book nor a novel.
In fact it feels like a series of reasonably closely connected essays on a subject he does not profess to be expert in and yet has written at least four books on the subject.
That subject being, and I apologise for the crassness of his own byline, madness. (A journey through the madness industry.)
It’s part Louis Theroux, part Michael Moore, part Bill Bryson but the sum is not quite as satisfying as any of them because I got the feeling he was pulling too many punches.
He has a go at psychiatrists, the pharmaceutical industry as a whole and the process of evaluating possible psycopaths (sociopaths) but he typically fails to land any real killer blows.
The result is a bit of a curate’s egg.
Sure it’s really well written, stylistically – and interestingly researched – but my question is; Why?
I’m not trying to put you off because I found it an interesting, and enjoyable, read but it really does fall into a category I can’t find or describe.
I will explore his back catalogue deeper nevertheless.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: arthur jeffes, gigs, Gigs at Queens Hall, PCO, penguin cafe, penguin cafe orchestra
On Sunday afternoon my good friend Jon Stevenson was round at the house and I asked him what Penguin Cafe Orchestra track he’d like me to play. Quick as a flash he replied “Beanfields.”
So I was delighted when Arthur Jeffes announced that the next tune he was about to play at the Penguin Cafe gig at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall last night was the aforementioned Beanfields.
“That’s your favourite Jon.” I whispered (this was a whispery occasion).
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that” he retorted, almost indignantly.
“Strange.” I thought. But, on reflection, how can you choose a ‘favourite’ from PCO’s canon of work.
Jon and I, and Jeana, first saw them together sometime around 1988 in Glasgow, not long after I had introduced Jon to the delights of ‘Telephone and Rubber band’. Sadly we didn’t see them again before founder and composer Simon Jeffes’ death of a brain tumour in 1997.
So, imagine our delight when not only did Simon Jeffes’ son, Arthur, form a new band called Penguin Cafe (a 10 strong ensemble somewhat dwarfing the original 5) but that they were recording AND touring AND playing the old PCO work alongside their own compositions.
Jon and I, frankly, were made up.
As were our wives.
Since their formation in 2009 I have had the privilege of seeing them perform three times (The Usher Hall, Edinburgh, in 2012, Glastonbury, 2013, and last night.)
Each show was astounding in its own right.
The grandeur of The Usher Hall, the casual informality of Glastonbury and the intimacy of the Queens Hall each brought out different aspects of PC and PCO’s uniquely idiosyncratic style.
What really made last night so fantastic though was the chance to meet them afterwards.
So Jeana came home with a thoroughly autographed copy of The Red Book (their new album which includes two NASA commissioned pieces).
We also both had a chance to chat with Violist and MD, Vince Greene and, at length, with violinist Darren Berry; resplendent in his Royal Stuart suit, surely worn specially for the occasion.
I spoke to Arthur Jeffes and complimented him on the much changed rendition Harry Piers which he always dedicates to his dad.
Honestly, this was the best Christmas present Jeana could possibly have asked for because the whole show was truly brilliant with many old PCO favourites including Air a Dancer, Perpetuum Mobile, Telephone and Rubber Band and, of course, Music for a Found Harmonium, but it was perfectly complemented by PC’s own work including the aforementioned Harry Piers, the magnificent Landau and new work including the brilliant NASA commissioned, 1420 and Aurora.
All in all a truly memorable evening.
Thank you Arthur, Vince, Darren, Des, Andy, Rebecca, Neil, Tom, Cass and Pete (with guest appearance from the excellent support, Tom Baxter) .
We love you.
Interfering with politics.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: barbarella, barbarella opening credits, Dion de Laurentis, jane fonda, Roger Vadim
Filed under: conservative, creativity, sh Independence, Yes Scotland | Tags: Better together, George Osbourne derails the Better Together campaign, Tory muppets, vote yes for Scottish Independence, yes Scotland
This is a great exposition of the challenges facing a Yes vote. It shows up the Better Together arguments for what they are.
- Lack of ambition
- This is the way we’ve always done it
- Fear of change
OK the execution could be better but it makes its point well and this on a day when the gap between Yes and No is at its lowest Yet.
Thank you George Osbourne, your recent intervention was excellent.
“Not Mr McEwan’s Finest Book.” was the Economist’s summation of this odd book and I thoroughly agree. Described also as a “Russian Doll” of a novel because of its stories within stories. Most of them distracting or just plain poor.
For me it’s just badly written with an incredible central character, Serena Frome, written in the first person by McEwan.
The sex scenes (and there are several) are embarrassing, the musings on life stilted, and the overall flow of it just plain bad.
It’s a Cold war thriller set around the 1970′s offices of MI5 and MI6 and concerns the travails of the aforementioned Serena as she appears to shag her way through most of the Western World’s (mostly) straight spies.
I adore Ian McEwan but this is just guff. Sorry.
Massive plot twist or otherwise. Avoid.