Friday, December 11, 2009

The Christmas...

It was four weeks ago when I was at home with mum and the postman delivered the mail...Mum cried. I was a little bemused and looked at her, her eyes shone as never before, she looked at me, picked up the phone and called my dad at work..."It's happened" she said, my dad must have asked her a question and she just said "This Wednesday" and her voice broke down and she sobbed. I didn't like seeing my mum sad so I just went over to her and gave her a hug, not daring to ask what the matter was. My dad burst through the door about half an hour later, he grabbed my mum and they both held each other tight, crying. They held each other as if there was no tomorrow and they came into the lounge holding hands.
"Josh" they said, "We have something to tell you"...I was scared now and had not experienced anything this serious before. "Daddy has to go far away to a country called Afghanistan and help other children and families rebuild their lives. There is a war and daddy signed up to help our troops when he could. His bosses have chosen this time to ask him to go over there and daddy won't be here for Christmas". I stomped out of the room shouting "It's not fair" and went upstairs.

My dad came into the room after a while, sat down at my side and told me all the deatils of his job and what he had to do...suffice to say I wasn't really listening and just didn't want him to leave mum and me alone. I told him I understood and it was okay but really this was just to make him feel better and at that time deep down I hated everything about the world and all those people fighting in it. I didn't sleep well that night and throughout the darkness heard mutterings and footfalls of unsettled and anxious parents. I heard my dad playing some music from another room and it was the song that they had played at their wedding on their first dance together. I remember watching the video once and I couldn't help laughing at my dad's haircut and my mums dress, in a way it was beautiful though. In the darkness I listened to the song and waited for my dad to start singing as he usually did, but tonight there was no singing and it seemed strange.

I fell asleep after a while and woke to the sound of church bells and peacocks, it was the last day for a while that I would see my dad and I wondered what the day held in store. Of course to say that it wasn't the happiest of days was an understatement. Mum had taken the day off work and we walked together in the winter sunshine talking as families do but in a strained and unrealistic way. The day went on, with me wishing that it wouldn't end and my mum grabbing every opportunity to hold and touch her beloved soul mate. Dad treated us to a Hut meal for tea and we went home full and tired. Dad had to be up early in the morning so we all went to bed early. He came to see me before I went to sleep and dozily I looked at him as he spoke, "Josh, be a good boy for mum, clebrate Christmas like you would if I was here and above all know that I will be thinking of you wherever I am and I hope you do the same"..."I will dad, I love you" I responded and drifted off to sleep.

Dad left early the next morning, Mum thought it was best to let me sleep in as my Dad went off to catch the train to his departure point. I was upset but knew that he was going to be home in a couple of months so after a while carried on with my day to day routine. We weren't allowed to know exactly where dad had gone but we knew it was Afghanistan. Mum dreaded the news coming on the telly so banned me from watching it. I suppose in a way she was in denial about the war and my fathers work but every so often you could see her well up after a bit of thinking time. The first couple of days I heard my mum crying late at night and wondered if there was anything that I could do but realised that the only thing that would make her happy was the sound of my dad walking through the front door of the house. Mum tried to prepare for Christmas but my nan had to help her a lot as she didn't seem to be able to get things together in her normal efficient manner. I asked if I could write a letter to dad for Christmas and she thought that was a lovely idea and let me get on with it, I wrote...
'dear dad, I hope you are well and the army and the people of Afghanistan are treating you well. I had a fight in the playground today because a boy said you weren't a real soldier. I got told off by the teacher but mum didn't seem cross at all. Mum is sad and we both miss you. I am thinking of you like you asked me to and I hope you are thinking of me. I have asked for an xbox for Christmas and I hope I get one. Nan told me to say hello and that she loves you with all her heart. I have to go now as I have heard a noise and I think mum wants me...I love you dad...Josh'

I went downstairs to see what happened and mum was screaming, I ran to her, she was shaking and screaming, it frightened me and I started crying. Mum had turned the telly on early for her programme and the news was still on, there on the screen was a picture of my Dad and I smiled through the tears, then I heard the words.."killed by a mortar attack on the army base today".
In that split second my young life ended and my forced adulthood began. I held my mum as long as I could but she was hurting because she wouldn't let go...I got to the phone and phoned Nan who was crying on the end of the phone. I gave the phone to mum and imagined the two women looking into the receivers not saying a word to each other but saying everything to each other with the silence.
I went upstairs and held the letter that I had just written close to my heart and whispered "good night dad, wherever you are, happy christmas"

I wish you all a very peaceful and lovely Christmas, I will be back in January xx

Saturday, December 05, 2009

coming really really soon!

watch out for the musically interactive christmas story coming soon....woo hoo!

Monday, November 30, 2009

bloody christmas again!

How many more do I have to live through...I don't even remember liking christmas as a child but I must have done...In my old age it has taken me by suprise that I have become so bloody cynical about it all! I am sure many of you will have a great time with family and, well once again I will be spending xmas day in an undertakers wondering whether I will actually get to talk to a person during the day that will actually answer back...never mind, I will have my dinner when I return from my shift and reminisce about times gone by.

I have a treat for you today, first of all from Damien Dempsey with a song called 'It's all good', I first heard of Damien when I went to see him as a support act to Saint Sinead O'connor, he was phenomenal live, full of rough Irish mate Andy told me he was huge in Ireland and so I explored further. I have three of his albums now and this is one of my favourites...if you listen closely you will hear Saint Sinead warbling away during the verse and chorus...want to know why?, because her partner produced the album and it's wonderful...feast your ears on his bright and thick Dublin drawl and wonder at the awesomeness of this mans songwriting talent.

Secondly we have one of the best dance records ever...just to get you into the party's 'Boogie Wonderland' by Earth Wind and Fire...on this record EWF got just about everything right for the era in which it was released, nothing cheezy disco about these bad boys of funk (even though the costumes were very camp!), wallow in the groove, get out that hairbrush and sing along till the cat screams stop!

Getting ready to go out was a great time of being younger, I remember getting a bottle of Thunderbird wine from the offy, dancing in the shower with a glass or two, hair dryer and Ellnet at the ready (when I had hair) perfectly formed flat top style later and I was jigging about naked in front of the cat, wondering what to wear from the cornucopia of loud fashion shirts that I bought from the local designer...bit's washed and powdered I placed on the clothes of choice and after a couple more glasses of Thunderbird and a couple of fags felt ready to face the alternative world of a Friday night...sigh, now it's wondering whether I should really have another drink as I have to go to work in the morning, and Lisa clippers whats left of my hair so I don't end up looking Monkish...c'est la vie...

Over and out! won't be so long next time..promise!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Quickie!

Hi Guys...just a quick note to say that I had a warning shot fired from today telling me to take off copyrighted material from the blog...they deleted one of my Bassey tracks but left the other one (how odd!). Therefore what I have decided to do is leave the files for you to listen to for 1 week only and then I will delete the songs from the blog, I can't see them complaining about that...let's hope not anyway!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Xmas Virgin!

Just a short blog today to thank Virgin Media for finding me a beautiful track to listen to...The latest Virgin Media advert features a girl wandering through different film sets, beautifully photographed and very expensive with the gorgeous soundtrack to boot...I don't know anything about the band 'Slow moving Millie' apart from the fact that they have a MySpace page but the track called 'Beasts' is a glorious little piece of work...the ending reminding me of Danny Elfmanns soundtrack to Edward Scissorhands. This should be played to death for xmas :)
Let it soothe you on this sunny Sunday (so far...)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My life in Warfare!

Hi all...forgive me for not writing this week but my life has been taken over trying to complete 'Modern warfare 2' on my Xbox...nearly there now but had to take a break from the screen!
Some of you who know me know that I am a big Prince fan and today I just really wanted to share with you a couple of my favourites which both happen to be on the same album 'Parade'. The first track is 'Mountains' and I really think this typifies Prince as an artist, it's full of lush production, great horns, electro drumming and superb backup from the rest of the Revolution. In his heyday Prince was to be revered by press and public alike, now preferring to satisfy himself musically rather than go mainstream. The film that these songs cam from was a total flop! 'Under a Cherry Moon' was sort of his homage to a slapstick 1930's farce but with bad acting, rotten jokes and self indulgent attitude the public didn't really get it. The strangeness of the film didn't gel although the interspersed music sections made up for lack of anything else. That being so I love to watch it occasionally for the great cinematography and captured quirkiness of our main star.
Having seen him live on the Parade tour a few times the music became monumental in performance, the black and white stage sets, the stark vibrant coloured suits all added to the occasion and these were the times I think Prince looked happiest on stage, the 'Lovesexy' tour being a mighty close second. Thesecond track was always a live favourite for me and has a certain poignancy about it..listen to the words, get the meaning and have a lovely day... 'Sometimes it snows in April'

Friday, November 06, 2009

53% of people prefer Marc Almond to Cat Food

Marc Almond came into my life at the start of his career and really I have followed with interest through our parallel lives. He always sang to me songs that were relevant, songs that talked about things that I knew about...Marc has always grasped at life, twisted it around a bit and thrown it back covered in glitter and mascara. The first track I have for you is 'A womans story' which has always been a personal favorite performance for me. The song deals with the struggles of womanhood and doesn't lose anything by having a guy singing it...listen and enjoy!

Marc has always been good at portraying stories and here in 'The little cloud that cried' he takes an okay Johnny Ray song and turns it into a little heart-breaker of a tune. I remember listening to the 'Woman's Story' mini album and thinking what a genius move this was to portray his favorite songs in his own style. Not really commercially successful but it turned into a fan favorite and along the years the mini album has seen me through good and bad times.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

I blame Aretha Franklin...

Although I love Aretha a lot there were two episodes in my life where she was responsible for my heartbreak.

Number 1. The break was the first time I had had my heart broken by a guy and you always seem to remember the first time more than the many episodes after!. The guy I loved was all that I wanted in a person, he to me was the sun, moon and sky...for a brief moment my world revolved around him and only him, we laughed , we cried, we shared our lives and each other...and then one day he went away, a note on the table was all i got..." you know how much I love you, but I have now decided that I love you too much...and that scares me. You need someone in your life that you can rely on completely. Don't look back with heartache but look forward with anticipation for the people you will meet in future...I love you..." and with that he was gone. I turned to the music box and played the following song 'what a difference a day makes' and wept for a while. Of course I got over it, but that song was never the same for me afterwards.

Number 2 . My friends death...It was a winter and I had a friend who was hemophiliac and had just had a full blood transplant, it was the early 80's so yes, you can probably guess what happened, the HIV virus took hold when it was an unknown quantity and for the following year I watched him deteriorate into a shadow of his former self. Every day was a struggle by the end of his life and I am ashamed to say that I was a lot younger and didn't really know how to deal with death and dying at that point in my life, so I slowly backed away from him until there was the barest of contact at the end. His mum chose this song for his funeral ' Try a little tenderness' , I don't know why but it just seemed right. Looking back I would have played the scene out differently, but as they say hindsight is a glorious thing...
Damn you for your fine voice Aretha..


Monday, November 02, 2009

Want a Monday uplift?

Don't forget to click on the song title to listen to the track, press play and open the little player, then back on your browser to carry on reading :)
What is it about music that makes you feel all nice and fluffy? Is it to do with chordal arrangements, words, melody? I think it's a very individual thing...if you are in a certain place emotionally there may be one song that does it for you that raises eyebrows with your mates, that's fine...we are not conditioned to all get the same euphoric feeling from the same tracks, that's why we have the diversity of genres that we have today, many cultures, many traditions, many of the songs that has always done it for me has been The Source feat Candi Staton 'You got the love', but it wasn't until last year when this fine Voyager remix came out that the beautiful string arrangent was bought to the foreground and 'whoomph!' total euphoria took over, it's an uplifting track and I hope you take it to your heart and think, 'You know what, I DO have the Love'....have a great day!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Heim is where the heart is...

heim? , yes fact Icelandic for home. woke up feeling shit today, got them damn late autumnal blues, so i put on a favourite couple of tracks and all is right with the world...
First up we have Sigur Ros with 'Samskeyti' off the album "Heim", this track always makes me feel calm, i found out about Sigur Ros just after the 1st album had come out and they fascinated me by their use of the Hopelandic language (a lead singer invention) and emotive musical phrases. The idea of Hopelandic was so that their songs were accessible to all and people could put in meanings to songs with relevance to how they feel whilst listening to it, clever eh? Sigur Ros have seen me through some bad patches, some of you older readers will know that I had cancer 3 years ago and I used to play their albums to take me away from the reality of it all..very cathartic!
The second track today is the Paul Oakenfold remix od Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy' a track that never fails to move me. Massive attack were a mighty force around the late 80's and early 90's and I remember blasting them out when I worked at Virgin Records in Southampton. They were known for their production values and vibe, you could see customers start to nod and shimmy to the sounds emanating from the shop speakers. Thats when record shops were good and staff were allowed to play what they want without having a corporate radio station blasting out pap all day as they do now! Those days of the Virgin Empire were great, the manager used to smoke weed in his office and all of us staff knew what we were talking about and loved music so much...those days are now gone. I remember we hosted the Video premiere in shop of George Michaels 'I want your sex video' as it wasn't being shown on telly...the shop filled with hundreds of people just to see a video, it wouldn't happen today, the magic of the retail record shop has gone...may it rest in peace.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

on being nude...

Nude, nudity, it all relevant. Here's a track by Radiohead called 'Nude' a terrific and lovely piece that makes me quiver. At my age looking at myself nude I see a lived in body that has seen the scars and knocks of a lifetime, it bears the memories of too much good food and drink, it shocks me into submission...when you're young, you see a perfect you, a body that has no imperfection, a body that you want to keep and have all the good intention of doing so...some succeed but most don't, your body is designed as a vessel to carry your thoughts, your education, it carries your love and your desires but most of all your body is designed to carry your spirit and if my spirit can only fit into a body my size, then that's good enough for me!

Through my travels around the African continent I have always been seduced by music, from Natasha Atlas in Egypt, through to the Kora players of the Gambia via the anti apartheid groups led by Johnny Clegg in Southern Africa...the melodies and song styles are amazingly different and exciting...Amadou and Mariam from Mali took a place in my heart a few years ago now and it's really nice to see them over here being accepted as a touring band worth going to see...there latest album starts off with a great little track called 'Sabali' and perhaps shows us that their music can perhaps adapt to western influences, not that they should or hopefully will though! Check them out and if you like it try and listen to 'Welcome to Mali''s a real rhythmical joy.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Have you tried love?

well....have you? 'Have you tried love' is a wonderful prelude to an album by the 5th Dimension, they were one of those bands that your mum and dad used to get groovy with on Saturday night Seaside Special really is a lovely bit of work though and it's amazing what you come across in old albums that you explore..

You will hopefully have realised by now that if you click the name of the song a new little player should appear, this will be my new home for the forseeable future, it's a lot more cosy and easy to access :)

Love is a funny thing, people have the most odd and ingenious ways of expressing songs are the backbone of society, where would we have been without our beloved mix tapes that we did for anyone that caught our eye...the kids today don't know what meaning a mix tape had...can you remember mix tapes that you did, I'd love to hear about them if you post onto the blog :)
'Love' by Air is a new song off the new album called Love 2 and don't you just love these french boys, taking electronica to bohemian heights, it's a groovy little album and well worth the pennies.

I've seen someone I fancy so I'm off to do an MP3mix doesn't have quite the same ring does it :(


Thursday, October 22, 2009

listening problems

Hi folks, I understand some of you are getting the join google page before you can listen to the songs...all you have to do is just sign up to google, its totally FREE...once you are signed it it will give you the option of saving the track or just opening in your favourite media player.

I will try and find a better alternative for you but in the meantime if you just sign up to google you can enjoy the content.

thanks :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baby the stars REALLY did shine bright!

Some of you may not know this but I used to work for Virgin, in the old days of the little shops where everyone was actually interested in music, and this is where my love for anything Aural came from, I discovered many precious tracks on my journey and was always excitably forcing music down friends earholes on a daily basis.

I had always liked Everything But The Girl since I fell in love with Tracey Thorn's voice when she was a tender young thing in the Marine Girls, after that she teamed up with Ben and created 'Night and Day' on Cherry Red Records under the EBTG moniker, a 7" which I still hold dear to my heart, they made some lovely early albums but the day arrived when I put on the latest EBTG album promo from the WEA records rep and was encapsulated in a land that was part Nashville and part Sheffield...the lush orchestral sounds eminated from the system and I wept with it's beauty and defaince against the current pop system. Baby The Stars Shine Bright was and will always be an album for me that ties up my life at that time, it was camp, honest, loving and beautifully produced! 'Come on Home' was the first single and typified how the rest of the album would develop, it shocked record execs who swooned as their lovely indie band became Country and Western Favourites...but strangely enough it worked, the album sold in its zillions and it was heard eminating from hi fi demo shops all over the world. The lushness of 'Come Hell or High Water' meant that it became a personal became an album for lovers, an album which found new fans and stardom but most of all it became an album classic...I hoped for many years afterwards that they would do a similar styled follow up but it was never to be..but my memories take me to a good place every time I still listen to it...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Under the bedclothes part 1

A defining John Peel show moment...

...And the Native Hipsters, 'Ooh Look...'

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Times

When I thought about going back to my music memories, I realised that I cannot actually remember what my first ever gig was...I went to see so many gigs betweem 1978-85 that it was in the hundreds and it's all gone a bit blurry. I know I was taken to see Shirley Bassey in Australia by my lovng parents during the late 60's and I think I can blame this early exposure to gaydom as the catharsis for my confirmed batchelorhood of today!

At the end of my school days I was a confirmed rocker into Thin Lizzy, Ufo, Uriah Heep, Rainbow and of course the mighty monsters known as Black Sabbath and I used to be found at the local Rock Disco headbanging into bass bins whilst patchouli flung its sweaty way off my then fairly long hair!. Over the years I would witness different reincarnations Of Black Sabbath who trotted out every time a new album came out. One of the most memorable times was in a June concert at The Southampton Gaumont in 1978 for the 'Never Say Die' tour with a little band called 'Van Halen' as the support act!
The price of the ticket was 3.50! just times that by at least 10 theses days!
I remember being down at the front of the stage surrounded by Hells Angels types and big dirty bikers :) The abnd came on and frightened me to death with the volume and the atmosphere, Ozzy in his day was the Prince of Darkness rather than the dark lord that he is now!
So I present to you today the title track of the tour album...ladies and Gentlemen, Black Sabbath with 'Never Say Die'....coming soon ..How i found punk under the bedsheets...

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Hi is the day I return to my first the coming months and possibly years I hope you will join me on a wondrous journey through an eclectic mix of tunes...some with a story and some without.

I wanted to open the music blog with a bang so have given you this Soulwax remix of The Gossip's 'Standing in the way of control', a lovely monstrous event which in my opinion is the best version...More cowbells I hear you cry! be honest I think Beth and gang latter attempts have been a bit hit and miss really, I think fame took over before the talent really came out..
This is just an opener page but please follow me and I can promise laughter tears, revealed skeletons in my cupboard and all sorts of mischief.

Welcome to 'Piddy's Place' Reborn :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I need your vote please!!!

Hi folks...a little help please...I have entered a comp and have a wine name and label that people need to vote on..the prize is a trip to Aus for 2...whoever votes for me will be put into a hat and will tag along to the vineyards of Oz with on the following to vote...thanks...

please let me know if you vote so i can put you in the hat...ta xx

Saturday, October 03, 2009

IPOWER Web Hosting

Friday, May 01, 2009

the ballad of lucy jordan

I couldn't ind the latest live version but here is the magical version form the Broken English film...enjoy!

I said a hip hop a hippy ...

well bloody hell, it's only been 17 days (good prince song that!) and I am now obsessed with Tweeting and's so easy to get sucked into reading little scentences and sitting there thinking..but i want to know more! you wait for the persons next tweet and bugger me it's a different subject all together..but i adore it..I tweet with Moby, fearne cotton, philip schofield, ashton kutcher and Demi, stephen fry and even normal people too like jane Fonda! I have learned lots about Trancendental meditation from David Lynch, kabballah from Ashton Kutcher etc etc...Jonathan Ross is a great tweeter and I find it fascinating when he goes to walk the dogs and tells us what the lovely Jane is eating!...please join twitter and follow me :)
I was watching Marianne Faithfull the other night on the BBC Sessions and I thought..bless her..she was very alluring for an old bird but she was what if she read lyrics off a music stand and missed a few notes, the woman is a semi legend...I wasn't quite sure of the arrangement for 'The ballad of Lucy Jordan' but it was okay and lovely to see her performing it...these BBC sessions are brilliantly done, especially if you are watching on the HD channel...I'm sure I could even see the booze permeating from Ms Faithfulls pores ...oh joy!
OOh must go , my 'Tweetdeck' is tweeting at me!!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Tweets to all :)

I know I'm late but I have just discovered the joys of 'Twitter' please if you are on Twitter let me know so I can follow you or if you are not a Tweeter then please join as quickly as you can ....I love to Tweet :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holding Out For A Hero!

Come on then your worst...go here... and fight with me in the's a very cute and cool game called 'My Brute' and you are allowed to have 3 arena fights each day...its an awesome little time waster and I am looking for people to join me as pupils...go ahead, click on the link and lets do battle! :)

oh you nasty boy!

I went for an internal job interview last week...I frazzled my nerve endings for 2.5 hours and didn't get the job...yesterday I was in the office and there was a young lady walking of the management team introduced her to me..."Neil, this is xxxxxx xxxxx and she is the new communications officer (the job I went for)...I stumbled with my words because one part of me was telling me to rip her fucking head off, and the other part was going 'hello nice to meet you' confusing is that!

Monday, April 06, 2009

...just as you thought it was safe to go back into the water

I have decided to start writing again after a this space for outrage, gossip, freedom fighting, fairy dust, films, music and the whole caboodle :)

Coming soon to your internet connection...

Film of the week

Knowing - the film that M Night Shyamalan should have made