portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So long, Bob!

 So sad to hear of the passing of the brilliant Bob Hoskins, who has died from pneumonia at 71. I loved his work, especially from the beginning in the legendary Dennis Potter's ' Pennies from Heaven' with Cheryl Campbell and Gemma Craven both of whom we fell in love with and especially Bob!  . . . . I also enjoyed his production of 'The Raggedy Rawnie' an idea that fascinates me still. . . . to his work with the deliciously brilliant Cathy Tyson in 'Mona Lisa' that also starred Michael Caine and Robbie Coltrane. To 'The Long Good Friday' with Helen Mirren to 'Roger Rabbit' where he studied his daughter's ability to enter the world of the imagination until he was hallucinating for real. That's method!
We had mutual friends and we shall miss his unique position in the pantheon of British 'Stars' and the extraordinary character he brought out in everything that he acted in. Brought up by a communist father as an atheist we had much in common in many ways
 Our thoughts got out to his family . . . . . . we are all the poorer for his passing

The legendary Stephen Fry, another humanist/atheist hero, lead the tweets
“Oh no, Bob Hoskins. Gone? That’s awful news,”
he tweeted.

“The Long Good Friday was one of the best British movies of the modern era. A marvellous man.”

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

to all my Christian friends
 . . . and, come to think of it, to all my non-Christian friends too!

I first heard this by Ry Cooder on his early album 'Into the Purple Valley' and adored it, it has a fantastic hook and despite my lack of Christian faith, I still adore it to this day
Here is the original by one of the father's of Gospel Music
Washington Phillips
"Washington Phillips is one of the most intriguing and delightful figures in American music history. His style is completely unique, both in his warm, plaintive singing and his use of zither for accompaniment. His treatments of early religious material is poignant and expressive and his zither playing backup is absolutely captivating. His complete output of 16 selections is presented here with brand new remastering that heightens all the irresistible characteristics of his performances."
get Washington Phillips' 'Key to The Kingdom' from Yazoo Records

Denomination Blues Part 1 - Washington Phillips

 Denomination Blues Part 2 - Washington Phillips

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I found this wanderin' t'interwebbie thing and thought it might help 

explaining PICASSO

to people who don't know about art but know what they like, the "My Kid Could have Done THAT!" brigade!

Quotes from The Master


"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

Pablo Picasso



"It takes a long time to become young."

Pablo Picasso



"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

Pablo Picasso



"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

Pablo Picasso



Saturday, April 12, 2014

I am so saddened to hear this awful news. Jesse Winchester meant a great deal to me and his ‘Third Down 110 to go’ from ‘72 meant a great deal to me too. I bought it when it came out over here the first album by him I would buy but not the last and as seminal albums go [IMHO there isn't a duff track filler on it!] and affect us it was a beaut. ‘Isn’t That So’ and ‘Dangerous Fun’ and ‘Defying Gravity’ a favourite especially when finding others cover it too (it was used in a TV film with Tommy Lee Jones called ‘The Executioner’s Song’ where he played Gary Gilmore and it was used over the credits at the end which I found most affecting sung by the legendary Waylon Jennings and it took me an age to find it by him but my understanding is that it’s a Jesse original) . . . . .sorry rambling here but going to put some Jesse on the jukebox and mourn his passing.
Sad day
I for one will miss him . . . . . .

April 12, 2014 – 9:11 am
Big O informs me - Jesse Winchester, whose “blend of folk, blues and country… embodies the spirit of American music,” died on April 11, 2014. He was 69 and had been battling cancer. His manager, Keith Case, told NPR that Winchester died Friday morning in Charlottesville, VA, where he lived.
NPR Music also noted the following: “Winchester ranks among the elite group of singer-songwriters who can captivate an audience with just his words, his voice and an acoustic guitar. The musician is revered by everyone from James Taylor and Lyle Lovett to Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris. Winchester even famously brought a tear to Neko Case’s eye after performing ‘Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding’ on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle program, which he also performs in this set.”
Winchester’s career was dramatically affected by his decision to leave the US rather than face the draft during the Vietnam War. As World Cafe has written: “Winchester was on track for a successful performing career, but his status as a Vietnam War draft-evader prevented him from touring and gaining a footing in the US. He opted to move north to Montreal in 1967, and developed a strong Canadian following while touring there. Winchester released seven albums in the 1970s and early ’80s, culminating with the Top 40 hit ‘Say What’ in 1981.”
Winchester, like hundreds of thousands of other anti-war protesters who left the country or otherwise avoided the draft, was able to return to the US after President Carter granted them unconditional pardons on his first day in office - Jan. 21, 1977.

Jesse Winchester - Defying Gravity 2010

Jesse Winchester - All of Your Stories

Monday, April 07, 2014


Inside a cave in a narrow canyon near Tassajara
The vault of rock is painted with hands,
A multitude of hands in the twilight, a cloud of men’s
palms, no more,
No other picture. There’s no one to say
Whether the brown shy quiet people who are dead intended
Religion or magic, or made their tracings
In the idleness of art; but over the division of years these
Signs-manual are now like a sealed message
Saying: ‘Look: we also were human; we had hands,
not paws. All hail
You people with the cleverer hands, our supplanters
In the beautiful country; enjoy her a season,
her beauty, and come down
And be supplanted; for you also are human.’

–Robinson Jeffers from “Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers,” in Volume 6, No. 1, “Earth & Spirit,” 1981

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Things we have learned this week

  • George W Bush can't paint     
Putin by G.W Bush - in case you couldn't tell!

  • E-cigarettes are just another method of getting people addicted to nicotine
    hmmm very attractive
    Hookah smoking caterpillar notwithstanding
  • Princess Anne thinks gassing badgers is humane and that if we ate horse flesh it might raise the care of the animal by a nation of so called animal lovers by 'adding value'!
  • The 'person' who killed Milly Dowler as part of his serial killing has been awarded £4,500 for being attacked in prison and receiving minor injuries. A Ministry for Justice spokesman said: “We are hugely disappointed that Levi Bellfield was awarded £4,500 by a judge following an assault by a prisoner in 2009 at HMP Wakefield.”
    Only in Britain
    Michael Gove loses his pipe
  • Would someone write a excoriating poem about Michael Gove and it go viral                              'Dear Mr Gove' by Jess Green
  •  I rarely find myself agreeing with Janet Street-Porter and her headline to her column Saturday musing that maybe e-cigarettes are as addictive as real ones, duh! They are two forms of delivering the addictive poison nicotine so it seems a no brainer to this born again non-smoker!
    But she outshone herself in her column highlighting that toddlers could teach adults a thing or two! The are ten benchmarks for little ones attending primary school . . . . . . . . .  

                    Advice for toddlers that adults could benefit from

    Ofsted has issued a list of 10 skills children need before they start at primary school, including toilet training, the ability to know their own name, and to understand the word “stop” and that it might be used to prevent harm. They must also be able to open a book and enjoy it, understand the use of the word “no”, to be able to sit still and listen, and be aware of other children.

    Some early-years experts have sneered, saying it’s more important for kids to be able to express themselves creatively than know their own name or how to use a toilet. I couldn’t disagree more. We are now reaping the fallout from parents not implementing enough rules to discipline their offspring. MP Rory Stewart hit a nerve recently when he complained that too many parents “worship” their children, treating them as equals and making them the focus of attention.

    The real problem is that after a certain hour in cities and towns all over the UK, you see a large number of adults who can’t recognise their own name, can’t use the toilet, don’t know the meaning of the word “no” and certainly can’t put their coats and shoes on. Perhaps Sir Michael Wilshaw’s Ofsted list could be laminated and fixed to the door of every pub serving cheap booze. If you fail more than four out of the 10 toddler rules, you’re banned.   Janet Street-Porter
  •  Depressing media truth of the day in a literary review news page in the Guardian there are more column inches given to MP and 'I'm a Celebrity' 'star' Nadine Dorries' first offering of a 'saga' novel set in Liverpool outdoes by two to one for Kazuo Ishiguro's first book in ten years             
  • There is sand from the Saharan desert covering everything, why it's all over the place, blown here on the wind, it has caused filth on cars and a smog haze that can actually be seen- apparently it's on it's way to reach Florida soon!?!?
  • Some bright spark has decided to turn Dylan Thomas' Under a Milk Wood into an opera. This strikes me as a really bad idea. It was already a work of art why fuss about turning it onto some ghastly imitation . . . . .with music and squawking singing!? Mind you I thought that of almost every Broadway hit from Rice and the truly dreadful talentless Andrew Lloyd-Weber dreck. I mean 'Les Mis'? Author Victor Hugo still spinning faster than a Hadron collider . . . . . .
                    I guess I need to include T.S.Eliot and whoever wrote the Bible too?!          
    Time travel?
  • A thief has been charged with stealing a Penny Farthing bicycle on Christmas Day                                                         
  • Weirdness prevailing
  • Some cheese factory workers in Russia have been caught bathing in the milk vats

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Though I know they've been busy what with life babies and stuff the boys & girls at

Wilful Missing 

send this email out and I thought I would re-post it for info:

Who you gonna call?
In autumn 2012 we were lucky enough to be invited by our good friends Hope & Social to collaborate on their exciting Crypt Covers project - arranging, recording and filming a cover version, chosen by you - all within 24 hours.  As it was Halloween, the wheel of destiny spat out the Ghostbusters theme tune, and it turned out to be quite an adventure.  Hope & Social have now done 10 of these Crypt Covers and have released them all as a digital album.  We’re in very good company on this album, with other collaborators including the much loved Duke Special, Ellen and the Escapades and Sam Airey.  If you haven't seen the video of our Ghostbusters cover, it is worth a watch.

Our next album
In other news, work continues apace to arrange a body of new songs for our next album. We’ve demoed a number of them already and will be starting recording proper very soon. We’re delighted with the new material and will be road testing them at gigs in the coming months. Listen out….

Spring and summer gigs
We are stupidly excited to be playing our first international gig this summer (assuming you don’t count Lancashire). We're heading to Belgium in the first weekend of August to play at the Dranouter Festival.  We yet again find ourselves in excellent company, sharing the bill with Billy Bragg and Richard Thompson.  We’re exploring the possibility of playing somewhere else en route so we can officially call it a European Tour - even if we just busk at Calais, that counts, doesn't it?

Before that, we're heading back to the Lake District to play in Ireby on 26th April after our very enjoyable performances at the festival there last summer.  The following week we're heading to the seaside to play at the Whitby Spring Session.  We'll be keeping it local on Friday 13th June when we appear at Bradford Festival. We’ll get no Saturday lie-in though, as we're then off back to the Dales to play at the incredible Hardraw Folk Gathering for the second year running on 14th June.  We hope you can join us somewhere along the way.  We haven't yet decided whether our new, young band member is ready to play live.

xo WM

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


New Album 'SEVEN DIALS' Announced

Available for pre-order now from AED!


It is with great delight and pride that AED Records announce that Roddy Frame has chosen us for the home of his first recordings in eight years.
SEVEN DIALS will be released on 5th May 2014 and is available here on 180g vinyl, gatefold sleeve, with CD version and bonus CD FEATURING SIX SONGS RECORDED LIVE AT BUXTON OPERA HOUSE.  We'll be despatching copies w/c 28th April.
Recorded at West Heath Studios, SEVEN DIALS was created in sessions which spanned 2013. Co-produced by Roddy himself and Sebastian Lewsley the ten tracks feature drummer Adrian Meehan and keyboards by long-time Roddy cohort Mark Edwards, with all other instruments played by Roddy himself.
Roddy will be premiering the album, with his band, at Shepherds Bush Empire on 22 May. Shows in the UK and around the world are in the pipeline and will be announced in due course.
We have a couple of tracks to whet the appetite on the shop..
Warmest wishes