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Music on the move…

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Live is best, but when you’re on the road, unleash the CD or iPod!

After spending a great deal of time listening to all kinds of music during my time as a music fan, writer and band manager, when it comes to listening to songs when I’m driving here in the UK or plugging in the iPod elsewhere, there are some songs that choose themselves.

Naomi and Bel set me thinking yesterday morning when they posted one of their playlists on magazutravelling yesterday morning. The link to their post is highlighted below, but this is what I came up with as a master playlist culled from the batch of CDs that I’ve made to play in the car which just happen to also be saved on various playlists on my iPod too…

  1. Hey Ya – OutKast featuring Andre 3000
  2. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
  3. Song 2 – Blur
  4. Rock & Roll – Led Zeppelin
  5. Ace Of Spades – Motorhead
  6. Caroline – Status Quo
  7. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
  8. Born Slippy – Underworld
  9. Barber’s Adagio For Strings – William Orbit
  10. Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones
  11. In Between Days – The Cure
  12. Deliverance – The Mission UK
  13. White Feather/Childhood’s End – Marillion (with Fish, not H)
  14. Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters
  15. Firestarter – Prodigy
  16. Higher Ground – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  17. Extreme Ways – Moby
  18. Keep On Rocking In The Free World- Neil Young
  19. Shot By Both Sides – Magazine
  20. I Am The Resurrection – The Stone Roses

Bubbling under…

  1. Valerie – Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse
  2. Bring Your Daughter To Slaughter – Iron Maiden
  3. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
  4. Enola Gay – OMD
  5. 1999 – Prince
  6. Whiskey In The Jar – Metallica
  7. 1812 Overture – used for the two explosive set pieces in V For Vendetta
  8. Tiny  Dancer – Elton John
  9. Hurricane – Bob Dylan
  10. Sylvia – Focus

And that link to Naomi and Bel’s playlist?

This story goes to 11…

There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment, so it’s good to see that some light relief going on in the media here in the U.K.

There’s some good comments on the story too that highlight how many have seen the source film and taken it in…

And the comments also show how many have spotted that the piece has been run next to one on Stonehenge!

The comments are a bit sweary in places – you have been warned!!!

George Michael

I caught the breaking news last night regarding George Michael.

I wasn’t a great fan and whilst I recognised his voice and songs (both solo and with Wham!), I don’t actually have any of his music on the CD racks or on my iTunes setup.

The guy was talented though, reaped a host of rewards via his talents, but also came unstuck with a series of high profile problems or incidents along the way which weren’t covered up or made to disappear as is sometimes the case with some major stars. Allegedly.

The tributes are all out there on TV, online and presumably in the papers too ( I haven’t been into any shops today and there weren’t any lying around in the pub that Caroline were in at Malham this lunchtime.

I suspect that more will be coming our way in the coming days, weeks and months and that his music may be heading back into the charts here in the UK when the latest single and album charts are announced on Friday…

Rick Parfitt

I’ve mentioned a couple of times on wisepacking that Caroline and I had a great night out in Blackpool earlier in the year when we went to the first night of Status Quo’s Last Of The Electrics tour.

It’s sheer coincidence that we watched the latest Quo compilation DVD on Thursday night as there was nowt on TV and it was only lunchtime today that I was looking at the band’s website.

Little did we know what was going to be announced a couple of hours ago…

I’ve seen Status Quo play at least five times now – Caroline only saw them for the first time in Blackpool – and I interviewed Rick Parfitt twice during my days as a music journalist.

Rick was one of the best interviewees that I’ve talked to. No airs and graces, friendly and a good laugh too.

There’s quite a bit online already, but The Guardian has this as part of its’ range of tribute features. The reader comments are worth reading too.

In a world of bland music and blander ‘stars’, Rick Parfitt will be missed..

One year – the shorter trips…


Seahouses, Northumberland

October 2015 saw us make the first of four visits to Northern England.

This one was a hit and run exercise – there had been sightings of the Northern Lights on the Northumberland coast, so that’s where we headed.

A quick delve into the realms of and we came up with a guest house in Seahouses for Saturday night and a cut-price deal at the Hampton by Hilton in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Sunday.

After a fish supper, we headed to the beach path between Seahouses and the guest house and spent an hour or so on a bench staring out to sea in a northerly direction.

Guess what? No Northern Lights for us!

The following day saw us having a hearty breakfast and walking back into Seahouses for a spot of photography and a general mooch around. The National Trust shop came up with some goodies, as did the RNLI shop.

Lunch came and went and it was time to head for Newcastle.

After working in Newcastle for years, I thought that I knew the way to the hotel, especially as it was around 300 metres away from where I worked.

What I didn’t realise was the the road layouts had changed in a big way, so all of the shortcuts I used to use were closed off or open to buses only.

Still, we found the hotel, parked the car in a nearby car park (£12 a day…), went for a walk, had a coffee and then changed for a night on the town.

Not into the type of garb favoured by those wandering around the Quayside or Bigg Market you understand. No, we chose more sensible clothing to combat the colder weather being encountered…

Monday was a shopping day around Northumberland Street, Eldon Square and in the Baltic Art Centre shop. Lunch came from M&S and by then it was time to head home…


Life’s a beach…

But not for long as we were back in the North East three weeks later.

We’d got a good deal at Redworth Hall Hotel for a couple of nights, had a pretty decent Sunday lunch at a pub on the outskirts of Darlington and then headed into that town for a mooch around my old stamping ground.

Once at Redworth Hall, the bar and log fire beckoned, as did the following morning’s visit to the National Railway Museum‘s outpost Locomotion in nearby Shildon.

That was followed by a weather beating visit to the local multiplex to catch up with The Lady In The Van before a pre-pack salad plus accompaniments was bought as an BYOB evening meal back at the hotel.

Alnmouth beckoned next – one of our joint favourites in Northumberland because of the village and the beach. The B&B wasn’t wonderful, but the pub meal a few doors away was.

After a drive up the coast to Seahouses, lunch was declared and taken, but a couple of the places we’d been into before were closed for redecorating or just closed due to lack of volunteers. So it was time to hit Bamburgh.

The car park was almost empty, as was the beach which proved tempting enough to inspire a wander and provided a bit of inspiration to use a couple of my camera’s not often used functions such as the black and white mode…


Bamburgh Castle – hand held in black & white


Same castle, same day, different side, but as the sun goes down…

A nearby pub provided a good excuse to go inside to warm up as it had coffee on tap and an open fire too. Our digs for the night were thankfully chintz free, but unstaffed after check-in, so we were left to our own devices until the following morning.

Which ensured that there was just one thing to do – head to the pub!

Steak and ale pice plus cider for Caroline, Lamb Cutlets and Guinness for me plus coffees were a great way to almost end the day. The warmth in the pub and the walk back to the room along with a full day of fresh sea air ensured that our respective night’s sleep were long and undisturbed until the alarm went off the following morning.

When the Grace Darling Museum and RNLI shop were visited, along with the local butchers who did a very fine line in pies, pasties and sausage roll. So lunch was bought, drinks purchased at a mini-market/petrol station on the A1 and then it was time to head home via Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

John Lewis sold us an iPad Mini 2 and case, Lush got some more travel size shower gel and shampoo bar sales and M&S sold us a couple of ready meals to have at home.

Was that it for the year?

Nope, because rock and roll got in the way and ensured that there were a couple of good nights out.

The first was to see prog rocker Fish on his Farewell to Childhood tour at Sheffield City Hall. Tickets were booked, as was rail travel and a night in the Holiday Inn Express.

Although this was originally billed and booked as a standing gig, ticket sales had been so good that the concert had been moved into the main hall – a seated venue.

After checking into the hotel and getting a cab into town, fodder had to be tracked down. Posh nosh in a pub? Fine stuff in a restaurant?

Nope. we hit Yates instead… and it pretty good too!

As we were now fed and watered, we decided to join the queue to get into City Hall, and ended up in prime seats about four rows back from the stage.

French band Lazuli impressed with their support slot, but would Fish?

It wasn’t the best show I’ve seen him do, but that was down to a cold apparently as his between song banter revealed.

The older solo stuff was mixed with more recent songs, but the main course was the playing in full of his old band’s Misplaced Childhood album.

A sense of deja vu kicked in as I’d last heard the whole of it played live back in the 1980’s and some of the solo stuff was heard in the 1990’s on a week following Fish around on his Highlands and Islands tour.

Mind you, a week later there was an even bigger sense of deja vu in Last Of The Summer Wine country – Holmfirth.

This was a good night out seeing a guy that’s been around so long that there’s calls being made for him to do the Legends slot at next year’s GlastonburyRoy Wood

He’s back at Picturedrome in Holmfirth in a couple of weeks and it’s very tempting to get tickets for the show, especially as they’re just £20 each.

All the hits and more from a pretty long career were delivered with aplomb and I surprised myself when I realised how many of the lyrics I actually knew. The band were as tight as they come and the show was only marred by the pillocks trying to video it on their mobile phones…

Given the amount of Christmas jumpers being worn in Picturedrome, there was one song that just had to be played – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. And it was.

So a good night out to round off the 2015 year of travelling.

The 2016 year of travelling wasn’t as hectic, but plans are already afoot for the 2017 travel year as the first trip is already booked and largely paid for!

One year – August 2015


Not just pictures at an exhibition either…

London calling – not just at the top of the dial, but plenty of other places too!

The full story behind my three days in London in August 2015 can be found by clicking on London to the right of this copy box, but I didn’t include any photos in those three posts, so here’s a few from that trip.


Imperial College residence hall

This was a great place to have as a base whilst I was down in London.

It wasn’t cheap (£68 per night), but I had a comfortable ensuite room with a substantial breakfast and access to a student bar that served reasonably priced pints of Irish nectar (Guinness) and good bar meals too.


Pottering around Kings Cross

Yes, it’s an excuse to pose for photos and quite a few people were standing in line to do just that. Some got their friends to do the camera work, whilst others made use of the stills photographer on the right of this pic.


Kings Cross station

The last time Caroline and I were in Kings Cross it was in the middle of the makeover you see above. Pigeons were perfecting synchronised fly-bys before the Olympics and the facilities were more basic because of the work.

As I mentioned earlier, the pen portraits of the trip are in the wisepacking archives by clicking on London to the right of the screen.

It’s a city that I’ve visited many times. Some have been for business, some have been for pleasure and some have been down to involvement in the music business for a few years.

It was cheaper to take demos down to London on an overnight coach and distribute them to record companies by using a day pass on the Underground than it was to post them.

There and back trips in a car or a van took up occasional weekends as a couple of bands played at Dingwall’s in Camden Town or at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden.

There were also visits to the Dominion on Tottenham Court Road to see Al Stewart or to the Town & Country Club and The Royal Albert Hall to see Fish, the former Marillion vocalist.

Fun gigs were those by The Skiff Skats at either The Dublin Castle in Camden Town or the Caledonian Road Fun Day. The latter saw the band play a set by the canal and then head off and play a set on a barge.

I’d met a couple of members of the band before in their office and recording studio , but things were spoilt by a pushy photographer going a little too far in getting shots of these members of a name band just having a fun day out by playing music that was completely different to that which had seen them in the Top 5 and on TOTP on many occasions.

Mysterious ways…

Just been for a hair raid (number 4 cut, square back) as it’s getting warmer in Yorkshire and it’s a few weeks since a barber was let loose on my bonce!

Mystery number one was the choice of radio station playing in the premises – young person’s station when the majority of customers were a tad over thirty (or fifty in several cases).

Mystery number two was the music being played on said station – about as good as that being played on a truck stereo whilst that vehicle was parked in our street yesterday.

Was the CD entitled ‘Crapola – The Very Worst Of Pop And Dance Music’?

Dunno, but it would be an apt analogy thanks to the lack of quality in the music being played on that radio station and in said truck – and yes, I do like dance music as I have a few CDs in my collection of dance music old (1980’s-1990’s) and much older (1960’s and 1970’s).

The stuff being played yesterday and today was to dance music what deep fried chocolate bars are to healthy eating!

Mystery number three was an advertisement for city breaks by air.

Nowt wrong with that, but one of the selling points used in the ad was the ability to take along hold luggage weighing in at 22kg on that city break.

22kg? For a city break?

My bag for a seven day break weighs around 8kg depending on the airline being used for the trip…

Whisky Tango Foxtrot was my thought when each of these mysteries presented themselves.