Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Men At Work - Down Under




MEN AT WORK - Down Under


My first job never lasted very long. I was eleven and I agreed to do an older boys paper round for a couple of mornings. I received the large heavy bag of newspapers and had to put them through the letter box of each  house ready for them to read with their breakfast.

It was windy and then it started to rain, then pour,  I was soaked I dropped the bag the wind caught the newspapers and they all swept up into the air and disappeared all down the street. I had enough, I just went home almost in tears and I never went back.

I was thirteen when I started in a Grocers shop and ever since that time I have never been unemployed until I retired at the age of 60. I think the wage was equivalent to about £1 and for that I worked a couple of hours after school and all day Saturday. It effectively finished my football career. 
I was Captain of the first eleven and played right half in these days. Nowadays that would be a mid-fielder.

The Boss was pretty tough and did not take any nonsense but for some reason I quite liked him. There was a big shed at the back of the shop where backup groceries were kept. I found half bottles of whiskey hidden behind boxes.  It was well known that the Boss was an alcoholic.  My mate Hugh, who also worked there would often hide these bottles in different locations.  If only we could have seen his confused face when he went for his top up..

The girls in the shop had this control over us. They knew what Customers were the good tippers, as we did and we would have to suck up to them so we would get best tips. If you were not in favor then it could make a big difference in the tips you earned. Tips were very important as I had to give my Mother half of my wage. She had no control over the tips. If you get my drift.

My Brother Cliff  who was 11 years older than me bought me a little transistor radio with a single ear phone.  It revolutionized my life and it never left my ear all the time I was delivering the groceries. Music on the go. Music while you work.  Saturday morning you had Children's favorites followed by Saturday Club. Guests were the Beatles and the Stones and all the up and coming new Bands. I loved it. You will have to remember the quality was not nearly as good as we have today but I did not know any better.

Christmas was the best time as we made a lot in tips although we worked long hours. I always had money not like most of the kids of my age. But I fear I lost a lot as I was good a sport and was unable to carry it forward  due to working. 

After about a year or so I managed to secure another job at a Bakers in the same street. I now had two jobs. My father would get me up about 10 past 6 in the morning, I would have tea with toast and marmalade. I would be out the door by 25 past 6 in all weathers and reached the Bakers in less than 10 minutes. I would pick up the bags of rolls and quickly set off . I had it down to a fine art. There was one place where I had to go up 3 storey's and the lights were never on. I hated it and just ran up the stairs and threw the rolls and ran to escape the monsters that I am sure lurked up there in the darkness.

I was home just after 7 and went back to my bed where I always listened to a Dylan album on my tape recorder. My ear was next to the speaker so it did not disturb anyone. I quickly fell asleep and would get up again about 20 to 9 to be in School by 9. Sunday, like the bible was my day of rest. Well day of rest from working that is. But I had money in my pocket.  
I remember one day my Dad got me up a little earlier as he knew Cassius Clay was my hero and they were doing a recording of the first Liston fight which happened earlier in the morning.  Clay won.
'He is the greatest, he is the greatest'. I don't remember delivering the rolls that morning I was so excited that Clay had won. 

Part 2 next week

Sunday, 24 July 2016

TRACKS OF THE WEEK 24/07/2015 - M Craft, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Prophets of Rage


Old Pa :-
Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Narcissus Soaking Wet (2016)

The grooves along at a good chugging rate and is from Chris Robinson Brotherhood's latest rlbum release. It has an almost jazz feel and certaily catches up with you after a couple of listens.

Prophets of Rage - 'Prophets of Rage' (2016)

Trump's a Chump! They say dangerous times demands dangerous songs and how can you argue with the combined audio firepower of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy. It's the ultimate middle aged sonic super squad, for me anyway, and they've vowed to 'Make America Rage Again. This is their first single it what hopefully will be a collection of new material but for the time being Tom Morello, B Real and Chuck D are campaigning around the US, with a portion of the proceeds going to local homeless charities. It's time to take the power back!

Prophets of Rage website.... 

M Craft - Chemical Trails (2016)

M.(Martin) Craft gives us a Bon Iver esq track that appears on his third full album, Blood Moon. It feels like the video could have used the astronauts floating around in Zero G aboard the ISS. However, the director of his video seems to have nailed it.  Get your slo-mo settings on your phone and you'll have something that'll fit.

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Asian Dub Foundation - Fortress Europe


It came in at no 10




I had a colleague who was a Sikh. I would not say exactly he was a practicing one as he had long ago done away with his Turban and had cut his hair. I think it probably was more to do with a case of it is better to fit in than stand out and face persecution.

Sowaran came from Malaysia from a poor family and was highly intelligent. He continued to do courses in the open University and had gained many certificates and degrees.

I wish I could get Sowaran to tell his life story as it is quite amazing. He is a great character and became my best friend at work and we were often drinking buddies.  'I miss you buddy.'

That was just an introduction to Sowaran and it will enable me to tell a little story which you may find amusing.

Sowaran at one time frequented the bookies on a daily basis when he was once unemployed and learned everything that could be learned in theses shady places. He still went on his days off,  when one day he had a  deja vu  moment. He was watching a  virtual  horse race which they have on every day in-between the proper race meetings. He just knew who was going to win and who was going to be second. He was right and it made him think that maybe theses  virtual  races were on some sort of loop.

That was it, he put his heart and soul into his project which lasted several months. He would discreetly mark down all the  virtual  races and all the results. He had charts papers and fed everything into his computer trying to establish an  allusive pattern.

He eventually found the Holy Grail and just had to tell someone and that was me. He was going to wait until the pattern came round again and on the day he would go into a bookies as would I. We would bet an accumulator on a particular race giving all the horses in correct order of that race. An almost impossible task. For a small outlay there would be an amazing return. We are talking in 6 figure returns.

He would call me on the day and he had instructed me what to do. I did tell him that I thought it would be better just him doing it as it would seem suspicious two people winning in the same area. He would not hear of it as technically we were not doing anything wrong.  Well depends upon what side of the fence you are on.

I hate to spoil this story but one day I met a very down and forlorn Sowaran. They had changed the tape or whatever they were using and it was now something completely different.

The moral of the story is you will be hard pushed to beat them bookies. But a good try Sowaran you nearly beat the bastards!.

The chosen track by the Asian Dub Foundation I am sad to say rings so true to-day.

By Old Pa

Sunday, 17 July 2016

TRACKS OF THE WEEK 17/07/2016 - Slow Club, The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band,Psychic ills, Bob Mould,


London Scouser:-
Bob Mould - 'Voices In My Head' (2016)

Voices In My Head was released in January this year and it's off of the 12th solo album by former 'Hüsker Dü' and 'Sugar' frontman Bob Mould. Whilst having heard of the two bands, I don't consciously know of anything by them. This was in my 'Discover Weekly' playlist and at first I wasn't sure... But now now I have to say "It's a grower !!!" It seems a bit REM, not as in Michael Stipe's vocals but in the music and how it is sung... Or is that just me ???

Old Pa :-
Psychic Ills (feat. Hope Sandoval) - I Don't Mind (2016)

This is a dreamy psychedelic track form a new album by Psychic Ills with the added bonus of having the silky dreamy tones of Hope Sandoval. I was thinking when I first heard this that there was a feel of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Hope completed the connection. Love this 

Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band - P.I.M.P.

I'm absolutely loving this at the moment. A steel drum band doing Hip Hop and Funk covers from 50 Cent to Kool and the Gang? I thought that has to be a novelty, right? But Germany's Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band are far from a Caribbean hotel lobby gimmick, they are first and foremost a funk band and they can play, as Fiddy's family classic, P.I.M.P., demonstrates. They have just released a compendium of their work, 55 and not only is it a refreshingly good album but it's perfect for that family BBQ, even gran will be pleased with the extra sausage for you, guaranteed.

The Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band Facebook page...

Slow Club - Ancient Rolling Sea (2016)

Low budget video, check. Hipsters, check.  This 'slow' groove by London/Margate duo Slow Club has all the hallmarks of a Matthew E. White produced track. Catchy riff, 70s Bass, and a sing-a-long chorus that you cannot forget. Ancient Rolling Sea appears on One Day This Won't Matter Anymore, out 19th August. Nice.

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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

New Order - In A Lonely Place


Pressure, under pressure


NEW ORDER - In A Lonely Place

Pressure, under pressure, we have all been there at some time. Here are two little incidents when I found myself under extreme pressure.

I was working at British Airways  Cargo and had been there for about 13 year when the section I was working in had closed down and I was going to be re-deployed to another department.  I was asked ,as I expressed an interest in working in the passenger department would I assist for a few weeks as 'an auntie' . Sounded good to me and sounded like a bit of a jolly. Basically you had to assist with unaccompanied minors who were travelling to and from Heathrow Airport.

I would meet them and take them to where ever they were going and ensure they were met or deposited at the correct place. It was pretty straight forward and good fun. There were usually only 1 or 2 per flight. That was until one day the manifest showed 40 kids were due to go on a flight to Kenya. I was with this old woman called Eve. She was in her seventies and was a career Stewardess and was from the Old School.

Suddenly we were swarmed with screaming kids who all had to be checked in tagged and corralled for lack of a better word. It was pandemonium. I suddenly realized that Eve had done a runner and I was left on my own with no help whatsoever. It was sheer hell, I had only accounted for about half of the expected names on the list. I had a microphone and kept making announcements for missing kids as well as checking some in and tagging them and putting them into my makeshift coral. I was pouring of sweat by this time and completely stressed but I just could not stop as there was a flight that had to meet its target.

Eventually I managed to round them all up and like the pied piper they all followed me through departures to the departure gate where I signed them off to someone else. Fuck that! I headed for the Bar and had a few welcome refreshments to get back down to planet earth.

When I returned,  there was Eve, she said she did not feel well and had to see the medical. What an Old Pro or should I say Old Crow.

Boy that was some experience one I am not likely to ever forget. I decided to stay with boxes rather than screaming kids.

The other pressure moment was when I was in Jeddah in the eighties. It was a normal day when a colleague came to me and said you are wanted by Mr Whaby H Whaby our big boss. 'He wants to see you immediately over at the Conference  room'. I arrived there and was told to give a talk on what the department does and what are the future plans.  I said where and he pointed me out to the stage floor. There were about 400 delegates there, I was handed a microphone and was almost pushed out onto the stage.

I was flabbergasted and in shock, I did not know what to say or where to start. I mumbled something about getting some notes and I will be back in a few minutes. I just panicked and had to escape somewhere.  I passed my Boss who gave me that stare which says  'you are sacked mate'.

My head cleared and I returned and I got onto the stage and asked if there was anything anybody wanted to know or clarify about the department. When I was asked a question it was Ok I could respond. It was just the getting started.  This went on for some time I gained my confidence and it all  appeared to be a success. My boss came on to the stage and thanked me and I slunked of back to my office. Nothing was ever mentioned about it again. I must have just escaped by my skin of the teeth. It was an uncomfortable moment and it was there I learned exactly what a panic attack was.    

By Old Pa

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

BLUR - Song 2




Having 3 dogs it is always important that when you take them for a walk you check their poo. If it is runny or too hard or a funny color then you know something is wrong and some action will have to be taken.

I currently have 3 Yorkies. There was Dixie a girl and then Rafa a little boy. Recently we acquired another boy which we found tied to a post one day when I was taking the other two out on one of their daily walks.  We called him Toby, all very original until he morphed into Toby One Kenobi and that gave him a whole new personality.

The trouble with Toby 1 was his poo, they were of galactic proportions for a little dog. He was a bit bigger than the other two but I would take him for a walk and he would do a poo at least a foot long and the scary thing was a few hundred meters down the road he would do another of almost similar size. It was amazing. I wish now I had brought my camera as no one believed me when I told them.

When I first took Toby 1 and one of the other dogs for a walk, I walked passed a school where many people were waiting to pick up their kids. Toby1 stopped right in front of them and produced one of his extra long poos. The trouble  was that they came out just like these soft ice cream machines you see. I immediately got some paper towels out and tried to clean it all up when Rafa got a fright when some kid tried to clap him. He ran round me twice  I lost my footing most of the poo ended up on my trousers and jacket. Rafa squatted and he did a poo.  I was entangled with the two dogs when Toby 1 pulled away stopped in the middle of the road and proceeded to produce another long soft sqirty one.
I was clearly in complete disarray all the people were laughing loud hysterically as if this was a comedy sketch specially put on for their enjoyment. I cleaned up as best I could and turned (tail between my legs) and returned home to clean up.

I will say that after several visits to the vet Toby 1 has had his stomach sorted out and his poos are of manageable proportions now.

Rafa is a different kettle of fish altogether, he has not got time for anything as mundane as pooing. He just wants to run, sniff send and receive emails. Things like pooing he just has not got the time .. Mostly he poos on the move on the run and I have to constantly keep an eye on him just in case I miss a quick drop..  

Every time I take the dogs out now Old Ma on my return always asks  'well?'  I will reply 2 out of 2 or in Toby1's case 3 out 2. I might add some extra information like an 8.5 or a 7. One day I returned and was asked the same question and with a big smile on my face I said Dixie had given me a perfect 10.  It was of good size and color, a slight glint (not hard) and when I picked it up with a paper towel there was not a trace left behind. Now that is a perfect 10 in anybody's book.

Finally on the subject of poo. My pet hate is finding a small plastic bag filled with poo which has not been disposed of properly. You get these 'good citizens' because they see someone is watching them pick up the poo and when not being watched they just throw these bags anywhere. That really gets to me.

By Old Pa