Saturday, October 31, 2009

BT Total Crap

I still find it a bit freaky that you can have a good rant about a service like BT Broadband on Twitter and within minutes up pops a Direct Message from BTCare saying "If you are having connection problems with your Broadband DM me your details and I'll perform some diagnostics on the line."

Having just done a line test with BT I got the following message: "We estimate your maximum connection speed to be 0.256Mbps. This is the fastest speed your line can support." If that's the case, stop trying to sell me supersonic (up to) 20MB packages and do some work on my line and/or exchange. I don't suppose Sky will be any better on this line.

I'm All Right Jim!

I received an e-letter yesterday from my local MSP which included this lovely piece of I'm-All-Right-Jackery: "After a long battle with First Scotrail, I have persuaded the Managing Director to increase the capacity on the 17.52 from Edinburgh. If Scotrail are truly to persuade people to use public transport as their first option, then it must be an attractive option. As a regular commuter on this train, I know my constituents’ concerns were warranted. Now Scotrail have agreed to increase the seating capacity on the 17.52 from the present 140 to 189 from the new timetable change on 13 December."

So what about the other commuter trains to Fife, Jim?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here's Jonny!

Saturday 17 October

Having lost some weight and buffed up a bit I found that the two pairs of jeans I took to Crieff were hanging off me. We were in Asda (or Asdaz, if you’re a local) and could I find a pair of jeans in my waist and leg length? Could I hell. Everyone in Dunfermline must be built like a Rubik Cube.

Sunday 18 October

There was a bizarre moment during my radio show. I was playing John Holt’s “Ali Baba” and I was trying to find out some information about the song because I knew there was a story behind it. I found a website but as the record was finishing and I ejected the CD I could still here the intro of the song going round the studio in a loop. It turned out that, unlike my normal studio, if you visited a website that had background music it would come through the desk. This studio didn’t have an appropriate fader and for five minutes I was clueless as to where the sound was coming from. I eventually worked out it was coming from the PC and gave a huge sigh of relief. Every single week something goes wrong! But I console myself with the fact that it happens to professionals too.

I’m not a big Formula 1 fan but I watch the “big” races and well done to Jensen Button for a great drive in Brazil. No doubt he’ll be ensconced as favourite for Sports Personality of the Year. I felt sorry for Beth Tweddle who had also won a World Championship gold medal (on the floor, not her more favoured uneven bars – when did they stop calling them asymmetric?) but the BBC news was dominated by Jensen’s accomplishment. In fact it was lead story. Well done, Beth.

I get home from the radio station to find that Flick has spent the afternoon cutting out pictures from the Early Learning Centre catalogue to give to Santa. Bless.

Monday 19 October

In-car entertainment: Sergeant – Sergeant

We’re really enjoying the latest comedy import from the U S of A, Modern Family.

Tuesday 20 October

In-car entertainment to/from work: Sergeant – Sergeant (Shy Recordings 2009)

I spent the evening finishing off the questions, audio rounds and picture rounds for next week’s quiz night. I host it, with the Goody Lady Wife taking on the role of my glamorous assistant, Quizelda. She can’t take part because the quiz is organised by her employer’s social committee and it wouldn’t look right if her team won. Technically it’s a “corporate” and I get paid for it. I’ve done small quizzes for nothing previously but I do put a lot of effort into this one every year so I don’t feel bad about taking money for it. I print off all the answer sheets and score sheets too and give them to the teams in a wee pack. We give each team a bag of sweeties too. I start preparing it a few months in advance and many questions are written and jettisoned along the way. Being an attentive audience, who are only really there for the quiz, it tends to go at a fair pace so this year I’ve added more questions and an extra audio round. Buy one quiz, get 20% extra free!

I always get nervous about it until it gets under way and then I settle into it. I don’t really write a script as such as I feel it can come across as a bit lame if I “try and be funny”, especially when it’s not natural for me. Okay, I can be funny but I prefer to bounce off someone else and be more spontaneous.

Wednesday 21 October

“Music Like A Vitamin”

The doors were opening at 6.30 with, we had heard, things kicking off at 7. It wasn’t a lot of time to get to my “outlaws”, get fed and watered, change and get back into town, via public transport, through the multiple road works littering the capital.

A mid-afternoon e-mail to the HMV Picturehouse Box Office got a quick response (Dunfermline Alhambra take note) and I was surprised and rather glad to hear that Attic Lights would kick-off proceedings at 7.30 pm, followed by “Jonny” (Norman Blake, Euros Childs, Dave McGowan and Stuart Kidd), Idlewild’s Rod Jones and headliners Frightened Rabbit.

The two acts I really wanted to see were on first and I wasn’t sure we’d stay for the others but we stayed and were glad we did. Mrs Cat hadn’t heard much by Attic Lights and was suitably impressed by their harmonic rock. Having seen them several times in the last 18 months I already knew how brilliant (and sadly underrated) they are.

Attic Lights: Never Get Sick of the Sea, Dirty Thirst, Bad Day, God, ? (new song),
Stay Before You Leave, Late Night Sunshine, Man On Fire, Bring You Down

I’d seen Norman Blake and Euros Childs play together at Celtic Connections at the start of the year (on the same bill as Attic Lights) and I was amazed by their modern take on baroque folk pop. This time round Dave McGowan joined them on bass (a regular go-to guy for Teenage Fanclub, a Fifth Fanny if you like) and drummer Stuart Kidd. The quartet has completed an album, under the pseudonym Jonny, and it’s due out next year. On the basis of the tracks we heard it should be an essential purchase. The cartoon “Do The Cave Dance” took on an almost Spinal Tap-esque quality (all it needed was Stonehenge) as the expanded band gave the track went off on a psychedelic path. In introducing the track Norman suggested rather playfully that it had been specially written for Showaddywaddy until they realised they’d split up.

Jonny: Waiting Around For You, Candyfloss,? (new song), Which Is Which, Baby Lee, English Lady, Do The Cave Dance, Back To The Country

Being Rod Jones’ first gig neither he nor the crowd knew what to expect. He needn’t have worried as he went down well. My companions and I were, however, somewhat distracted by the female vocalist who accompanied him She seemed to be either, (a) dressed for backing Matt Bianco, (b) enjoying a game of pocket billiards, (c) bored by it all and (d) all of the above. Rod finished with a cover of John Martyn’s “Over The Hill”.

Maybe I’m just getting old and not as in touch with what “the kids” are listening to as I should be but I’d only heard one or two tracks by Frightened Rabbit previously and didn’t really know what to expect. We retired to the cushioned benches of the balcony (a nice change from rigid seats) to watch them strut their stuff. My initial impressions were of an early Cure, featuring the Joy Division drumming of Stephen Morris, but they grew on me and it’ll be interesting to see how their sound evolves. The kids in the stalls were certainly going wild for them.

Frightened Rabbit returned for an encore of “I Feel Better” before being joined on stage, Live Aid-style, by assorted members of Attic Lights and some of the event staff for rousing, if somewhat shambolic, covers of “Proud Mary”, “Teenage Kicks” and “Lust for Life”. I half expected Phil Collins and Bono to join them.

The bands had given their time and services for free and the £5 admission price was possibly the bargain of the century. The two pints of lager for £7.20 was most certainly not a bargain but that was the only complaint of a wonderful evening for a wonderful cause. I have to say I also liked the venue, with its unobtrusive security staff, comfy balcony benches and no booking fee policy for personal callers.

Thursday 22 October

Staying at my in-laws means I can take a short-ish bracing walk to work. Despite only having three pints last night (normally I drive to gigs on my own with only full fat Coke for sustenance), I’m rather tired today. The daily gym routine doesn’t help and any thoughts of attending the Jackie Leven gig in Kirkcaldy are soon forgotten.

I had hoped to nip to Kirkcaldy after the Good Lady Wife returns form her knitting group (no, seriously) but I just didn’t have the energy. He’s playing Glasgow on Saturday (hate the M8), Kilbarchan on Tuesday (where?), Inverness (too far on a school night), Comrie on Friday (hosting a quiz night) and Stirling next Saturday. The latter is a possibility. Since I learned to drive (two years ago now) I’ve been to gigs in Dundee, Perth and Darvel but never Stirling. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Stirling apart from witnessing a football match. To say, “witness” is a bit of an exaggeration as we were stood behind the goals and such was the blanket of fog on Stirling Albion’s ground that we couldn’t see past the halfway line! Luckily Jackie is one of those artists who doesn’t so much tour as constantly gig and even if I miss the Stirling gig he’ll back soon enough.

Friday 23 October

In-car entertainment to/from work: John Barry – Themeology

I’m still tired this morning but it’s Friday so I can console myself with a lie-in tomorrow. Okay, that’s maybe wishful thinking but hope springs eternal. With the Flickster back at school on Monday I hope I can get back into some semblance of a routine before Christmas and get back to my book.

Having written 25,000 words (albeit as extended notes), I’m desperate to find the time to get back to it. Lord knows where I’ll find it. Maybe I should just console myself with 45 minutes here, an hour there and just get on with it, albeit bit by tiny bit. Why is it that as soon as I stop taking CDs to the gym it gets quieter? Some days when I took my own music it was like Piccadilly Circus. Today I was on my Jack Jones with only Forth One’s Grant Stott for company. I don’t mind Grant but it would’ve been nice to blast a bit of Sergeant or even John Barry! I’m nothing if not eclectic. I think gym music should be about pleasure and not beats per minute.

Saturday 24 October

I drove to my mate Dave’s. We drank coffee, watched the football scores coming in, listened to the radio, played some Wii and quizzed each other from the Guinness Book of Hit Singles. It made for an enjoyable, relaxing few hours. I love “The Thick of It”! I was pleased to see it promoted to BBC2 rather than hidden away on BBC4 although the 10.10pm showing illustrates the strength of the “industrial” language used. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Sunday 25 October

Today’s radio show was my Hallowe’en special. I figure it was better doing it six days early rather than 1 day late. It was an enjoyable show - a virtual repeat of last year’s - although once again I made another small cock-up. One of these days I’ll do a seamless show. Just you wait and see.

Monday 26 October

Wrote a small review of Sergeant’s debut album for the Jocknroll blog. It’ll certainly be one of my albums of the year come the time people start making lists of their albums/records/TV shows of the year, which is any time now.

Things have calmed down on the drive to and from work and while I’m still swearing like a trooper in the car at some of the imbeciles who’ve been allowed to grace out roads I’m less inclined to ‘out’ them on Twitter under the #baddriver tag. Had the gym to myself today. I’ve upped the Shoulder Press by 1 weight (4 to 5) and I’ve replaced “the plank” with some sit-ups for a few weeks just to see what difference they make.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 25 October 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's Hallowe'en edition of "Where The Action Is".

R Dean Taylor - There's a Ghost In My House (Tamla Motown 1974)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
Artistics - Nothing But Heartaches (Keep Haunting Me) (Brunswick 1967)
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising (Liberty 1969)
Virgil Holmes - Ghost Train (Atlantic 1961)
The Haunted - 1-2-5 (Quality 1966)
The Pathfinders - Pumpkin Lantern (Unreleased 1968)
The Kac-ties - Mr Were-Wolf (Shelley 1962)
October Country - My Girlfriend Is A Witch (Epic 1968) (Connect 3)
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - I'm Your Witchdoctor (Immediate 1965) (Connect 3)
The Rattles - The Witch (Decca 1970) (Connect 3)
The Verdicts - Mummy's Ball (East Coast 1961)
Jim Stafford - Spiders and Snakes (MGM 1974)
Sounds Incorporated - Order of the Keys (Decca 1963) (Birthday: 25/10/39 Barrie Cameron, keyboards/saxophone)
Round Robin - I'm The Wolfman (Domain 1965)
John Leyton - Voodoo Woman (HMV 1961)
Christine Pilzer - Dracula (Label Unknown 1966) (Foreign Language)
The Fiends - Theme from The Addams Family (Crescendo 1964)
Chris Williams & The Monsters - The Monster (Columbia 1959) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Classics IV - Spooky (Liberty 1968)
The Swinging Phillies - Frankenstein's Party (Deluxe 1958)
Frank Sinatra - Witchcraft (Capitol 1958)
Heinz & The Wild Boys - Big Fat Spider (Columbia 1965)
Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders In the Sky (Columbia 1979)
The Turtles - Grim Reaper of Love (White Whale 1966)
The Spooks - Sally Machine (Egomania 1990) (Under The Influence)
The Nu-Trends - Spooksville (Lawn 1963)
Redbone - Witch Queen of New Orleans (Epic 1971)
Jackie Morningstar - Rockin' in The Graveyard (Sandy 1959)
The Crystals - Frankenstein Twist (Philles)
The 'N Betweens - Evil Witch Man (Columbia 1966)
Billy Doggett - Monster Party (King 1959) (Connect 3)
Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash (London/Carpax 1962) (Connect 3)
Bo Diddley - Bo Meets The Monster (Checker 1958) (Connect 3)
Alma Cogan - Snakes and Snails (Columbia 1965)
Bobby Please & The Pleasers - The Monster (Jamie 1959)
The Zombies - Care of Cell 44 (CBS 1968) (Two of a Kind)
The Zombies - Tme of the Season (Date 1969) (Two of a Kind)
Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper (Columbia 1976)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

This year's Hallowe'en special is pretty much the same as last year's. If you have any suggestions for tracks for next year's show then by all means let me know.

Next week's show will be a normal show and we return to the A to Z of The Beach Boys with the letter F, including the song that was the first dance at my wedding.

Good day and good health.

The Cat

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkclady VRN 1287 AM Sunday 18 October 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's edition of "Where The Action Is".

Bobby Parker - Watch Your Step (V-Tone 1961)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
The Girls - Chico's Girl (Capitol 1966)
The Rev-lons - Boy Trouble (Garpax 1962)
Elvis Presley - (Marie's the Name of) His Latest Flame (RCA 1961)
Glenda Collins - Find Another Fool (Decca 1961)
The Hollies - You Know He Did (Parlophone 1965)
Mary Saenz - Would She Do That For You (Big Ben 1964)
The Carrolls - The Folk I Love (Polydor 1966) (Connect 3)
Tommy Roe - The Folk Singer (HMV 1963) (Connect 3)
Lulu - My Ain Folk (EMI 1969) (Connect 3)
The Ace of Cups - Music (Unreleased/Year Unknown)
Sandi Shore - I'll Know Better (Next Time) (Gaiety 1966)
Mama Cass - Make Your Own Kind of Music (Dunhill 1969) (Birthday: 18/10/40 Cynthia Weil, Songwriter)
The Monkees - Love Is Only Sleeping (Colgems 1967)
Timi Yuro - That's Right, Walk On By (Liberty 1962)
Severine - Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue (Philips 1971) (Foreign Language)
The Fashionettes - Losin' Control (Unreleased, 1963/1964)
The Flee-Rekkers - Sunburst (Piccadilly 1962) (Half-Time Instrumental)
John Leyton - Son This Is She (HMV 1961)
Scott Walker - Angelica (Philips 1967)
The Beach Boys - Endless Harmony (Capitol 1980) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - E)
The Beach Boys - Everyone's in Love With You (Brother 1967) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - E)
Beatrice Kay - Boy You Better Watch It Girl (Unreleased/Year Unknown)
John Holt - Ali Baba (Trojan 1969)
Sergeant - Sunshine (Shy Recordings 2009) (Under The Influence)
The Surfer Girls - One Boy Tells Another (Columbia 1964)
The Cinderellas - Baby Baby (I Still Love You) (Dimension 1964)
Doris Webb - He's The Most (Unreleased 1963)
Little Eva - The Trouble With Boys (Dimension 1965) (Connect 3)
The Music Explosion - Little Bit O' Soul (Laurie 1967) (Connect 3)
Ways and Means - Make The Radio a Little Louder (Pye 1967) (Connect 3)
Fanny - Charity Ball (Second Version) (Reprise 1971)
Mary Saxton - Big City Guy (Unreleased/Year Unknown)
Doris Day - Oo-Wee Baby (Unreleased 1964) (Two of a Kind)
Doris Day - Let The Little Girl Limbo (Unreleased 1963) (Two of a Kind)
Gladys Knight & The Pips - Just Walk In My Shoes (Motown 1967)
The Animals - We Gotta Get Out of This Place (Columbia 1965)
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Smell of Incense (Reprise 1967)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

Next week's show is my Hallowe'en special with plenty of spooky tunes.

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Good Crieff, There's Been a Murder

Saturday 10 October 2009

Recently I noticed that the sticker on the front of our Vauxhall had split and looked a bit of a mess and I thought it would be easy enough to get a replacement. Boy, was I wrong. I e-mailed Vauxhall Customer Care and a Customer Care Manager called me to say I could get in touch with my local Vauxhall dealer and get one there. Due to work and other commitments I'd been unable to get in touch with said dealer and as a result I've been pestered by phone calls from Vauxhall Customer Service ever since. (I did attempt to e-mail the local dealer but their e-mail bounced back!) Vauxhall e-mailed me to say they hadn't been able to get in touch with me so I replied to suggest that they could just send me a sticker through the post. It seems that that is too straightforward and sensible. Customer Care called me yet again to say they couldn't send me a sticker (no reason given) and that I should contact my local dealer who would supply one "for a fee". "How much?", I enquired. "I don't know", came the unhelpful response.

I received an application for the quiz show "Pointless", which I'm glad has been re-commissioned. The rather excellent first series was essential viewing in our house, albeit on fast forward having been Sky Plussed. The combination of Alexander Armstrong and trusty statto sidekick cum beatnik Richard Osman works well and bring a certain gravitas to a quiz that would flounder under the stewardship of a lesser presenting team.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Another day preparing Flick's playroom before I head off to do my radio show, which features Beatles covers and Beatles novelty records as well as a track by John (the show is to "celebrate" his birthday on the 9th) himself.

Monday 12 October 2009

It's an early start and off to Crieff Hydro we go. K and I know we need this pampering break while Felicity just wants to see the pony! A slight detour on the outskirts of Crieff delayed our arrival but it wasn't long before we unpacked and headed straight for the pool. There's the free pool, with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, and the altogether more peaceful adults-only facility, called the Victorian Spa, for a reasonable £10 a day. The latter will be tomorrow's treat.

After an uninspiring lunch at The Hub, we put a couple of entries in for the Monday lunchtime Crossword Challenge, one in K's name and one in Flick's, and were delighted to see Kirsty's name posted up on the noticeboard later on as that day's winner! Okay, so it wasn't exactly The Times crossword but a win's a win! What the Hydro really needs in the evening is a quiz night and I know just the man to host it.

Today I spot two women from the world of Scottish sport enjoying the delights of the Hydro, one a gold-medal winning World Champion athlete and the other an ex-athlete turned BBC Scotland sports presenter. I don't speak to them but, hey, they didn't recognise me either!

After a spot of outdoor table tennis and some Hide and Seek with Flick in the Victorian Garden (we got her to pose on top of an empty plinth as Usian Bolt - who needs Anthony Gormley?), we head to the Ballroom for some Ceilidh dance lessons. This is primarily for Flick's benefit in anticipation of our attendance at that evening's Jockanese hoe-down but she soon loses interest. For all my recently gained fitness I'm absolutely knackered by the end of it and suffering with shin splints. With Flick already tiring following the first-day holiday excitement I know we won't make the evening ceilidh. I'm right.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Felicity is booked into Big Country, the Crieff Hydro kids club, to allow us some peace and quiet to do our own thang and for Flick to do likewise. She's probably glad to get rid of us, what with us cramping her 5-year old style.

I head off to the gym while Kirsty heads off to the pool for a paddle and a steam. After a spot of cycling, rowing and walking we head off to the Beauty Salon; Kirsty for the Ultimate Aromatic Facial Treatment and I went for the Full Body Massage. Surprisingly, K's treatment takes longer! A Latvian lady called Monica does my massage and it's amazing. I try and make polite conversation about Latvian Eurovision entries (she'd heard of Brainstorm but not FLY) and famous Latvians (no, me neither) but I soon relaxed into an amazing experience and one I can't recommend highly enough. I'm never sure if the hole on the bed is for putting your head into or for drooling through.

After an alfresco lunch at The Hub (better than yesterday's offering), Flick returns to Big Country and K and I head to the putting green for part 2 of the Johnno Olympics. Having won a tight game of "wiff waff" yesterday (23-21), I was looking to complete the double on the leaf and twig-strewn hilly 18 holes of the putting green. After sprinting out to a three hole lead after three holes K knocks in some cracking putts and the pressure is on me at the turn. K gets back to level but with form temporary and class permanent I hold her off to win 2 & 1. Get in there!

I head for a solitary 45 minutes in the snooker room while K heads off to do some quality knitting into a room called Loggia. With Crieff Hydro looking like an art deco building straight out of an episode of Poirot we've re-christened Loggia as The Murder Room. We collect Flick and head off for a pre-dinner swim.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

After brekkie flick heads off to her last morning of Big Country while Mummy and Daddy luxuriate in the child-free Victorian Spa. While there I share a jacuzzi with a well-known BBC Scotland presenter. At least she's cheerier than the World Championship gold medal winning athlete we've also spotted elsewhere in the Hydro. Talk about a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle...

After lunch in the Winter Room, adjacent to the Murder Room, it's off to the stables for Flick's pre-booked pony ride. Flick has talked of nothing else and as sure as eggs are eggs, as soon as she sees Polly the pony she cowers behind her mother and doesn't want to go anywhere near the most docile, timid animal you could ever meet. Eventually she is lifted on to Polly and taken for a circuit of the paddock, which I catch on my Flip Ultra for posterity. No-one is booked after Flick so she goes round again. This time she is persuaded to rub Polly's nose, albeit with a couple of gentle fingers. Once again the idea of a pony ride was a more exciting proposition that the actual event. No doubt, though, she'll be raving about it when she gets back to school!

After the pony ride we take the short walk into the one-horse town of Crieff. We'd heard there was a really good toy shop there and sure enough we found it easily. Flick's holiday money was spent on more Playmobil (a show jumping set and a Santa) before we took the long walk back. It's only a 5-minute to the town from the Hydro but then you realise that's because it's all downhill. It's about 15 minutes on the way back, especially with a weary child in tow.

I pop into the gym before joining the girls in the pool. Then it's off to the Brasserie for dinner.

Again we don't make the ceilidh but console ourselves with sweeties and Johnny Depp in the not-bad remake of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on ITV.

Thursday 15 October 2009

We stuff our faces at breakfast, fill the car and head to the busy pool for one last swim. I hit the gym first and see the gold medallist and her husband on the cross-trainer and treadmill respectively. I stick to the bike and rowing machine as I don't want to show them up.

After the rest and relaxation of Crieff it's back to the "delights" of Flick's playroom. Where is Changing Rooms when you need it? The day is spent building Trofast furniture from IKEA and weeding out a lot of rubbish - broken toys, old magazines etc. It takes the rest of the day.

Friday 16 October 2009

It's a repeat of yesterday but we finally seem to be making some headway and Flick is finally allowed in to play late afternoon. There's still some de-cluttering to do but the bulk of it has been done. I'll be glad to get back to work for a rest.

I finish putting together Sunday's radio show and Flick beats me and K at Disney Trivia Pursuit.

Saturday 17 October 2009

I don't really know what to be at today. I've a mountain of things to do and I just don't know where to start. I end up doing some pretty aimless pottering until tea and then listen to Collins and Herring's Podcast 85 while the girls watch Strictly Dumb Prancing. I also listen to Frankie Boyle's free podcast during which he tries out stuff for Mock the Week. It's interesting to hear the stuff that doesn't work as well as the stuff that makes it on to the show.

Watch last night's A Question of Sport and then Match of the Day, which includes Sunderland's bizarre goal, which goes in off a beach ball.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 11 October 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's Beatles edition of "Where The Action Is", featuring covers and novelty Beatles records, including a couple of tracks by the band themselves and one by birthday boy John Lennon.

The Beatles - Birthday (Parlophone 1968)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
The Dowlands - All My Loving (Oriole 1963)
Nancy Sinatra - Day Tripper (Reprise 1966)
Sonny Curtis - A Beatle I Want To Be (Colpix 1964)
Madeline Bell - You Won't See Me (Philips 1966)
The Fondettes - The Beatles Are In Town (Arhoolie 1964)
The Supremes - A Hard Day's Night (Motown 1964)
Dori Peyton - Ringo Boy (Margo/Ottie Year Unknown) (Connect 3)
The Bon Bons - What's Wrong With Ringo (Coral 1964) (Connect 3)
Bonnie Jo Mason - Ringo I Love You (Annette 1964) (Connect 3)
R Dean Taylor - Two of Us (Motown 1971)
The Twiliters - My Beatle Haircut (Label Unknown 1964)
John Lennon - Woman (Geffen 1981) (Birthday: 9/10/40)
The Four Preps - A Letter To The Beatles (Capitol 1964)
Amen Corner - Get Back (Immediate 1969)
The Beatles - Kimm, Gib Mir Deine Hand (I Wanna Hold Your Hand) (EMI 1964) (Foreign Language)
The Vernons Girls - We Love The Beatles (Label Unknown 1963)
The Beatles - Flying (Parlophone 1967) (Half-Time Instrumental)
The Temptations - Hey Jude (Motown 1969)
Dick Lord - Like Ringo (Label Unknown 1964)
Stevie Wonder - We Can Work It Out (Motown 1970)
Nilsson - You Can't Do That (RCA Victor 1967)
Joe Cocker - I'll Cry Instead (Decca 1964)
Bill Clifton - Beatle Crazy (Decca 1963)
The Las - There She Goes (Go! Discs 1988)) (Under The Influence)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - And I Love Her (Motown 1970)
Mamas and the Papas - I Call Your Name (Dunhill 1966)
The Bulldogs - John, Paul, George and Ringo (Mercury 1964)
Vikki Carr - Nowhere Man (Liberty 1966) (Connect 3)
Link Wray & The Linkmen - Please Please Me (Take 1) (Unreleased) (Connect 3)
The Frugal Sound - Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (Pye 1966) (Connect 3)
The Beatle-ettes - Only Seventeen (EMI 1964)
Badfinger - Come and Get It (Apple 1969)
The Four Tops - Eleanor Rigby (Motown 1969) (Two of a Kind)
The Four Tops - Fool On The Hill (Motown 1969) (Two of a Kind)
Rainbo - John You Went Too Far This Time (Tomorrow's Production 1968)
The Beatles - I Feel Fine (Parlophone 1964)
The Beatles - Good Night (Apple 1968)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Knicker Conspiracy

Saturday 3 October 2009

Inexplicably, I wake up at 6am. Maybe my Monday to Friday 5am body clock is taking effect and my weekend lie-ins are no more.

I tune into Radio Scotland’s “Out of Doors”, which I haven’t heard for ages. I’m not really the outdoorsy, Munro-climbing, tree-hugging, shark-fishing type but this programme is really good and the credit must go to presenters Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith who are very funny indeed. After a quick shower it’s time for Brian Matthews and “Sound of the Sixties” on Radio 2. I normally miss the start due to a thing called sleep. Today I’m ready for him.

I get quite excited when Brian previews the week’s Three-In-A-Row selection from a listener. It’s The Searchers and he says he’s going to play two from them and one from ex-member Tony Jackson. Now, many months ago I sent in a Three-in-a-Row request for The Searchers (I think it might have been for “Popcorn Double Feature”), The Tony Jackson’s Group cover of “Fortune Teller” and “Aggravation” by another ex-member Chris Curtis. I rush around getting a blank tape and start taping the programme in anticipation of another radio appearance/name check. My excitement is brought down to earth with a crashing bump when the listener in question isn’t me but a lady from North Berwick! I’m tempted to turn off the show, in a fit of pique, but there isn’t long to go so I don’t bother. I reason he must get hundred of letters every week and I was just unlucky. I resort to plan B and to ensure he and his producer have plenty of notice I request three Christmas tracks for any December show, with another as a reserve. I’ve asked for Jackie DeShannon’s “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown”, which features in the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “Mr Scrooge” by Coventry band The Orchids and “Christmas Calling” by Valerie Masters, a Joe Meek production. My stand-by is Marvin Gaye’s “Purple Snowflakes”. Fingers crossed.

After a quick shower, it’s on with the work. Every week on my radio show I play a track by an artist whose birthday falls on the day of my show. 11 October is one of the few dates where I don’t know of a musician born on that day. I won’t play just anyone; it has to be someone who fits into the mod/soul/alternative 60s genre. I decide instead to celebrate John Lennon’s birthday (born 9th October 1940) by having a Beatles tribute show. While it’ll contain a couple of Beatles tracks and a John Lennon solo effort for the “Birthday” feature, it’ll mostly be Beatles covers and tribute records, of which there are many. With only the script to do, that’s another show in the can.

The plan today was to continue/re-start writing my book but the study is such a tip I decide to give it a good clear out instead. A tidy mind and all that. I have a break, a spot of lunch and I watch “The Thick of It”.

After some more pottering I stop for prawns with basmati rice for tea, accompanied by “The Thick of It – Rise of the Nutters”, which we’ve kept on Sky+ because we never tire of watching it. I head back to the study. Study makes it sound like it’s a room just off the East Wing, beside the servants quarters, but it’s really just the smallest of the bedrooms decorated with IKEA shelving full of books, CDs and LPs. It’s my little home within a home.

A couple of hours later there’s still nothing on the telly so I see what else I’ve meaning to watch for months on Sky+. There is, thankfully, and I watched the beautiful and brilliant “Control”.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Another early rise, this time at 8am. I plump for fried eggs on toast and a coffee to kick start my day.

Normally I avoid the Rangers v Celtic match but I decide to chill for a while. The game is a decent one with all you would expect from such an encounter. It’s just all the Weedja Meedja saturation coverage and hype that I can’t stand. It’s one of the reasons I stopped going to football and stopped reading newspapers. There’s a world outside of Glasgow and there’s a football world outside the Old Firm.

I put up my radio show set list on the Jocknroll blog, The World of Misery Guts blog and my Facebook page and, after a brief hello and goodbye when the girls return from their travels, I head off up the A92.

Another 'okay' show and it’s back home for my microwaved tea and to hear the highlight of Flick’s weekend, which is learning a new song containing the word “knickers”!! It tickled me as well.

The new series of “House” starts tonight. I love House; he’s the anti-hero who says what he likes and doesn’t give a damn. This show has been good at keeping things fresh and this series the setting has moved to a psychiatric hospital that House has reluctantly checked himself into. The moment he gets there he’s making plans to get out.

P.S Why is it that when I type a document on Word and then cut and paste it into Blogger I have to go through the laborious task of removing all the Html and adding new Html before I can publish it? Answers on a postcard to Me, 14 Me Street, Meville, Meland ME1

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 4 October 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's edition of "Where The Action Is".

The Settlers - Major To Minor (Pye 1967)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
The Small Faces - (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me (Immediate 1976)
Scott Walker - Jackie (Philips 1967)
Jenny Wren - Chasing My Dream All Over Town (Fontana 1964)
Peanut - Home of the Brave (Pye 1965)
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Nowhere To Run (Gordy 1965)
Pattie Lane - Paper Dreams (Polydor 1968)
The Merry-Go-Round - A Clown's No Good (A&M 1967) (Connect 3)
Jackie Lee - Lonely Clown (Columbia 1965) (Connect 3)
The Scots of St. James - Eiderdown Clown (Spot 1967) (Connect 3)
Lesley Dawson - Run For Shelter (Mercury 1967)
Arthur Alexander - Where Have You Been (London 1962)
Big Star - Daisy Glaze (Ardent 1974) (Birthday: 4/10/52 Jody Stephens, Drummer)
The Searchers - Popcorn Double Feature (Pye 1967)
Linda Kendrick - When Your Love Is Warm (Polydor 1966)
Petula Clark - Entre Nous Il Est Fou (She's A Fool) (Vogue 1963) (Foreign Language)
The Soul Survivors - Look At Me (Dot 1965)
Jimmy Smith - The Cat (Verve 1964) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Lesley Duncan - See That Guy (Mercury 1965)
The Wedgewoods - Summer Love (Pye 1965)
The Beach Boys - Darlin' (Capitol 1968) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - D)
Dennis Wilson - River Song (Caribou 1977) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - D)
Diane Lancaster - How I Need Him (Polydor 1966)
Boyce and Hart - Out and About (A&M 1967)
The BMX Bandits - Come Clean (Vinyl Japan 1991) (Under The Influence)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying (Motown 1966)
Val McKenna - Now That You've Made Up Your Mind (Piccadilly 1965)
Tracy Rogers - Baby (Polydor 1966)
Dee King - Sally Go Round the Roses (Pye 1966) (Connect 3)
Michelle - Sally Fool (Polydor 1966) (Connect 3)
The Utopias - Sally Bad (Fortune 1965) (Connect 3)
Bobby Hebb - Love Love Love (Philips 1967)
The Bystanders - Make Up Your Mind (Pye 1967)
Kiki Dee - Miracles (Fontana 1964) (Two of a Kind)
Kiki Dee - Put A Little Love In Your Heart (Tamla Motown 1970) (Two of a Kind)
The Marvelettes - I'll Keep Holding On (Tamla Motown 1965)
Lori Balmer - Four Faces West (Polydor 1968)
The Honeys - Goodnight My Love (Capitol 1969)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Friday, October 02, 2009

I Never Want An Easy Life...

Monday 28 September 2009

Today’s in-car entertainment: The Wonder Stuff – If The Beatles Had Read Hunter…The Singles.

One of my local community police officers has emailed me about my recent problems with ‘death wish’ children and local boyracers. He’s going to do a “speed survey” in my street and find out what the local schools are doing to promote road safety. Knowing my luck the boy/man racers will be on holiday and I’ll be told there isn’t a problem. My “quiet” time at the gym (11-12) is now busier than Piccadilly Circus. But I was first in so, whether they liked it or not, it was The Charlatans again. I should add the compilation of a “Gym CD” to my ever-expanding “To Do” list. On the way into the gym I was stopped by another gym regular who asked me if I was going to be using the treadmill. I said, no, it’s a weights day for me. “Oh, it’s just if you were I would go for a run outside instead”. I wander into the gym utterly confused because there are two treadmills so it wouldn’t really matter if I were on one because he could use the other one. Maybe, as I mentioned previously, he doesn’t like me walking on one treadmill while he’s running alongside on the other. Strange.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

No major nutters on the road today, well no more than usual. It only takes 30 minutes to get home but boy does it feel longer.

Once again my gym routine was curtailed. Tuesdays and Thursdays are cardio day and the routine is cycle, treadmill and rowing machine, although not always in that order. However, by the time I had done my Bradley Wiggins and Matthew Pinsent bit both the treadmills were being used, and by people who tend to spend a good half hour on them. That’s two consecutive cardio routines I’ve had to curtail.

The recycling is dropped off and the car is filled up before I head home and shower. I picked my daughter up from the after-school kids club only to find she has misplaced her blue reading bag, which contains her homework. It isn’t to be found at the club and a quick call to the school proves fruitless. Our only hope is that she’s left it on the minibus that picks her up from school. I’m not happy. Sure kids lose stuff but you can hardly miss it, it’s a flat A3 blue bag. I try and drum into her the need to look after her stuff. The problem is that she also has a lunch bag and a backpack. Maybe I’ll need to amalgamate the two to minimise the risk of future losses.

Watched Charlie Brooker’s new show “Gameswipe” on BBC4, which I think is a one-off. It was an enjoyable, expletive-filled potted history of gaming. Charlie, like Dr Gregory House, is one of those people who says all the things you want to say but don’t for fear of offending people. I’m not a gamer as such but I do enjoy sports games, especially on the Wii, although Charlie was a bit scathing about this particular type of gaming entertainment.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Today’s in-car entertainment: Mull Historical Society – Loss

Being in at work before 6.30 am (for a 7 o’clock start) I have time for a bowl of porridge (with some honey), a cup of coffee (the first one of the day always seems “flat” no matter how long I run the cold tap) and a read of the Metro.

One story caught my eye this morning and that was the case of the mother and daughter who killed themselves after being tormented, persecuted and abused by a local gang. One of the gang members, who was named at the inquest, is complaining of being “harassed” and bemoaning that “people are threatening to kill my uncle and me”. “We don’t know who they are, they just rung up and threatened us – this is terrible”. Terrible? Terrible! What a cheek. I don’t believe in “an eye for an eye” but maybe now he’ll get the tiniest sense of how that poor family felt. Isn’t irony a wonderful thing?

I believe that Royal Mail is looking to put stamps up by 3p. They’re going to charge more for a product that less and less people are using in a bid to curb losses. Good luck with that. So The Sun is changing alliance from Labour to the Tories. Not being a reader of that particular publication it doesn’t particularly bother me and won’t affect how I vote but what gets me is how political commentators are saying that The Sun is known for backing political winners. This makes me laugh because they’ve only swapped alliance when Labour are already well on the slide. While the Tories aren’t exactly a shoe-in for the next election, it doesn’t take a genius to see that they’ll probably be favourites. Anyone can back a winner under those circumstances. The Sun is nothing but a political gloryhunter. Next they’ll be backing the lions to beat the Christians.

There was only one other guy in the gym today and he unnerved me a bit because he resembled the leader of “The Sisters” from “The Shawshank Redemption”! I didn’t turn my back on him.

I had to explain to some colleagues today who Quincy (MD) was. I feel old.

I’ve decided, with Orange and Vodaphone about to sell the iPhone, now is a good time to get one. I’m trying to sweet talk the Good Lady Wife by tempting her with the knitting Apps. Wish me luck.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Today’s in-car entertainment: Mull Historical Society – Loss

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month.

Been having pains in my right elbow and I thought I had perhaps been overdoing it at the gym. Then i worked out it was causing by playing too much on the Wii, particularly Frisbee Golf!

Received an e-mailed mailout on behalf of The Charlatans advertising their three December gigs. Unfortunately, they say that they’re playing in “Dumbfermline”, instead of Dunfermline. I send an e-mail to the company who sent it out, informing them of their mistake and call them a “Dun-Ass”. Do you see what I’ve done there?

Felicity’s latest musical phase involves a love for any tracks with drums on them! She keeps asking me to “put that song on my CD”. Volume 2 currently features The Black Eye Peas, Inspiral Carpets and Arrow so far.

Friday 2 October 2009

Today’s in-car entertainment: The Manic Street Preachers - Forever Delayed

The girls are off to Guide camp this weekend so I’ll have the run of the house. Expect to find me sitting in my underwear, surrounded by TV remote controls and dirty cereal dishes!

Actually the plan is to kick-start my book-writing by doing some research and transcribing some programmes I have on DVD and video. Whether that’ll work out is another thing but I’ll give it a go.

Another project that’s been on the back burner is a scrapbook of all my newspaper cuttings, which sit in a box in the study, along with concert tickets and leaflets for events I’ve attended. I got The Scotsman regularly when the Recommends section was on a Wednesday but then it moved to a Saturday. Apparently I got a couple of mentions on the last day of Recommends, on 5 September, including for my Best Horse Song category. I’ve e-mailed The Scotsman to find out how much it would cost to get three back issues.

I get home to find Mr Amazon has been. There's one Various Artists compilation of mid-60s Hollywood girl bands called "Boytrouble - Carpax Girls" and The Ace of Cups' "It's Bad For You But Buy It!". These CDs came out in 2003/2004 and have been on my Amazon Wish List ever since. I've decided that no matter what I'll work my way up the Wish List from the bottom by getting a couple every payday. Having worked hard I like to have something to show for my efforts each month and CDs are as a good a purchase as any. I restrict myself to £100 pocket money per month so a couple of CDs won't break my bank. Also, by taking sandwiches to work I've stopped dipping into my own account. Brie and grape today, it's all good.

The girls have no gone, with granny in tow as a helper, and after a tea of chicken and lime and coriander rice I'm settled at the PC - "pottering" - with a nice wee Southern Comfort with lemonade and lime, with the England v Australia match on Sky downstairs. Who says men can't multi-task?

Update on Dumbfermline-gate, the girl at the company who sent out the e-mail is sending me a Special Deluxe edition of The Charlatans' "You Cross My Path" album by way of apology. It was more of an observation than a complaint but I'm not going to refuse it. I'm still not going to the gig though. My thoughts on Ticketbastard have been well-documented on this blog.

Right, where did I leave the Wii remote...?