Mind your Language

Another train of thought triggered off by a Radio program.

Listening to The Verb on Radio 3 from the Sage in Gateshead there was a discussion on dialect and the Geordie accent in particular someone said that before they came to the UK she thought everyone would speak the Queens English as heard on the BBC.

This reminded me of a time when I was young and had been to France with my parents on holiday. We were returning on a ferry from Le Harve to Portsmouth overnight and were sitting at a table talking. On the next table there were some Chinese people and at one point they asked my father “Are you English?” – he confirmed that we were.

They then asked “weren’t you just speaking a different language?”



I was listening to Radio 4 earlier and Ozzy Osbourne was on a feature called Inherited Tracks where someone discusses a song they feel they inherited (In Ozzy’s case it was Swanee River by Al Jolson) and one they would pass on. The track to pass on that he chose was Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

He was saying how every time he does a gig he plays Paranoid at some point and it got me thinking what it must be like if you are in a band on tour and you feel the pressure to play the same songs night after night and what it must be like if you’ve been playing a song at every gig for 30 -40 years.

I think some artist may like the safety of knowing exactly what comes next. I remember seeing Genesis two night running at the City Hall in Newcastle and not only did they play the same songs both nights Phil Collins told the same stories and the same jokes in the same places. On the second night we may as well have just watched a recording of the night before.

Then there are some artists who obviously get fed up of playing the same song and drop it from their repertoire, often to the disgust of the fans. Barclay James Harvest decided on one tour that they weren’t going to play their song Mockingbird. We saw them at the City Hall and after the encore all the lights came on and the fans refused to move. They stayed their shouting and cheering until the lights went back off and the band came back out. They obviously played Mockingbird but instructed the audience not to tell anyone they had!

And then of course there are bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish who seldom play the same songs twice on the same tour. I went to see Phish two nights running in Amsterdam for example – they played for 31/2 hours on the first night and 2 1/2 hours on the second night without repeating a single song and the audience went away happy. Similarly with Ratdog, The Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir’s band – I saw them four times in one week and they only played one song twice.

And then there was Racing Cars – I saw them at Sunderland Poly (Now the University of Sunderland) back in the 70’s. They had been in the charts with a song called “They Shoot horses don’t they” which had obviously attracted a lot of people to the gig. It was probably the only song that any of us knew and they didn’t play it! The did encore with a cracking version of JJ Cale’s Cocaine which they played as the fire alarms were ringing but no one would move till they finished.

Rock and Roll – you pays your money and you takes your choice!

Help desk

I’ve been having problems with the bandwidth allowance for my site which went over it’s limit yesterday. Basically as mentioned in a previous blog the bandwidth usage has suddenly rocketed in October from 500Mb a month to almost 5Gb. So I e-mailed the technical services helpdesk

I wrote

My bandwidth is showing as exceeded again. I still don’t understand this sudden increase in traffic.

to which they replied

We have seen your levels increase drastically this month, particularly since around
the 8th of this month. Do you know anything that might have happended then?

Well no I’ve already said that I don’t know why this has happened

But they helpfully added

The file types that are taking up the most traffic are .mht   7490 27 % 3.31 GB 94.5 %

Essentially these were archives of my old blog and I have no idea why they have been visited so much over the past few months

So I e-mailed back saying

at the end of the day if those files are the ones causing the problem they could be deleted – they only work in IE anyway!

To which I received the reply

Perhaps you could consider deleting the archive?

Is there an echo in here?


Sometimes I see or hear words which just stick in my head and this week has been no exception.

Firstly as I was walking through London’s West End I passed a group of people sitting outside a pub enjoying the autumn sunshine. A conversation was in full swing but as I passed the only words I heard were

“The girl with the Dragon Tattoo” *

These words just got stuck in my head – they would make a great title for a short story.

And then yesterday we were driving round Southampton when I saw a sign outside a shop which said

“Three men and a suit”

Which again resonated with me. It turns out that it is the name of a Southampton Graphic Design company who also have a web design company called three men and a surfboard – Crazy stuff.

(*Ok I’ve found out now it is the title of a book – damn beaten to it lol)


was telling us about her A level art project during a visit to Southampton Solent University yesterday. Her project was based on the works of Andy Warhol so I decided to Warholize her


Curiously this picture was taken a few feet away from a picture I took there last year which started my Rubbish Art series. Must be something about that room

Topical Halloween joke

A lone figure sits in a darkened room, the only light flickering from behind a window illuminates the scene. he sits at a table his shoulders hunched and his hands placed flat on the table.  His head is bowed as if he is waiting for something.

Suddenly he looks up, takes a deep breath and in a shakey voice he says

“Is there anyone there?”

The question cuts through the stillness of the room, hangs momentarily in the air before it fades away leaving nothing but a low hum and the sound of a fan which is blowing cold air around the room making the shirt, wet with perspiration, stick to the mans back. His hands are clammy now and although they would appear to a casual observer to be steady are actually shaking as the man looks around the room as if he was actually expecting an answer. The beads of sweat which have formed on his forehead are starting to trickle down his temples as once again he takes a deep breath and repeats

“Is there anyone there?”

Again the silence envelops the room as the words wither and die in the stillness. The mans eyes dart from side to side as he waits and waits in the stagnant room. He shifts nervously in his chair as the shaking has started to spread from his hands and is now becoming noticeable and his whole body is drenched in sweat.  He is beginning to regret taking this course of action on Halloween and he is almost at the point of giving up when he finds the last ounce of strength in his body and he leans forward and in a shakey voice says

“This is Chris Moyles on Radio 1 – Is there anybody there?”

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