Wednesday, 31 July 2013
A romance story by Paul Charles set in Liverpool at the same time as the rise of The Beatles? Count me in for some of that.
Theodore Hennessy falls in love with an unavailable woman (guess if he gets her in the end), while he plays in (and promotes) bands, chats to his sister, and closely follows The progress of The Beatles, and their meteoric rise from The Cavern and Hamburg to superstardom, marveling at each new release by them, and their advancements in sound and lifestyle, changing his own as he goes along in their slipstream.
The book was a fine way to while away a sunny day, but it actually went on slightly too much about The Beatles chart positions, and the romance stuff was sometimes sickly. Then again, it was a novel l had never heard of before, and as l picked it up at a charity shop for a pittance, l can't complain that much, especially as l am a fan of The Beatles and there are enough hints about the contents on the cover.
It reminded me of the good old days kicking around Bootle, but despite both being from Liverpool, my parents never owned any Beatles records. It was all Dean Martin, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley in our house (not literally), so it wasn't that bad.
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Read on Sunday while chilling out a bit in Nunthorpe, R.J Palacio's 'Wonder' stars a young boy narrator called August, who goes to school for the first time, as he had previously been home taught by his mother. He then has to fit in at middle school and make friends, while feeling like he is an outsider, and not like everyone else.
You may think there is nothing strange in that, but there is something else, and no, he is not a vampire (for a bleeding change).
He does however, have a badly disfigured face, which he does not describe himself as 'whatever you can imagine - it's worse' (although other narrators do).
There was a part with the family dog that made me cry, and the book was well written and engaging, but l thought slightly too sentimental and life affirming in parts, despite some cruelties. Then again, it's probably aimed that way to teach children a lesson about kindness.
Still well worth a read, and l wouldn't be surprised to see it made as a film.
Wow, got through all of that without once referring to Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time'
I am looking forward to Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity' movie soooooooooooo much. Even though l suspect it will be a lovey dovey weepie with a nice ending (starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock), the CGI images of the Earth and space look amazing, and a total trip (in more ways than one). It should also rabbit on about The Kessler Effect / Syndrome, which, unless we find a way to get rid of the debris orbiting the planet in Low Earth Orbit, will prevent us going into space in the future (at least for a long time).
Splendid and interesting stuff, and it had better not let me down.
Monday, 29 July 2013
Well. l'm now back from the Stockton Weekender 2013 (as it is now called), and had a splendid old time. I stayed at Robbo and Kerry's house in Nunthorpe as they were away at a wedding on the Saturday, and even caught a bus into Middlesbrough town centre, as one was just about to set off when l was heading towards the train station (due to the anticipated drinking, driving for me was a no no). The journey to the venue was staggered as it was broken up with visits to some fine and upstanding hostelries along the way, along the mainly very deserted streets, and The Don pub overlooking the far end of the venue became a second home in between bands. As for them, Spiritualized were better than l hoped for, and Primal Scream had the crowd a rockin' (even with some new songs thrown in). However, for me, Dexy's Midnight Runners (now just Dexys) were the highlight, as l thought there new material might not go down so well, and was half expecting items to be thrown at them, but the crowd loved them. There was a lot of love in the audience that's for sure. Pleasantly surprised that the taxi back to Nunthorpe on both nights was cheaper than it is from Middlesbrough itself, and l now have some nutty drinking buddies in The Don (scarily enough). I recorded some music, but the sound on them is crap, as l was too close to the front. However, if you want to check them out, go here, or just YouTube other peoples videos.
Next up, Richmond Live this weekend - bring it on!
Friday, 26 July 2013
Thursday, 25 July 2013
When l was a young lad and my parents moved to RAF Benson (in between Reading and Oxford), one of the first things l did was choose a local football team to watch, which turned out to be Oxford United.
I went to just about all of their home games while we were there, but also some away fixtures (not many, as l was still at school).
One of these was in 1974 against Reading, in a pre season friendly, where the programme was a single sheet of paper. Myself and a mate also hung around the ground for a bit and met some of the players, some of whom signed the back of the sheet.
One that did not sign (as l don't recall meeting him) was Reading's Robin Friday, who went on to become a cult hero at both Reading and Cardiff City, despite only playing a couple of seasons for both. He was a wayward lad, drinking, shagging, drugging, being banned from pubs, and certainly a man who did his own thing, despite the consequences. He was also a great lower league player who was skillful and gave everything in a match, which is why the fans of both clubs loved him (and still do).
There's a great book about him by Paulo Hewitt and Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan (from Oasis), which is well worth reading called The Robin Friday Story (The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw). Luckily, my piece of paper from this game proves l did see him play. Sadly, he died when he was 38 from a suspected heroin overdose (according to Hewitt).
On a related note, because l was into music as well, l often wondered why myself and mates didn't bother with the Reading Festival, which was pretty much on our doorstep. Then l saw a poster of the line up and realised why. I have grown to love The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Kevin Coyne, and the older me would watch George Melly and Ronnie Lane, but at the time it was all Marc Bolan and T.Rex, Sweet, Status Quo and Deep Purple. This Reading line up would have meant nothing to us at the time, and my first Reading Festival had to wait until 1977.
Emmet Till and his mother
The Jury - who thought Bryant and Milam were guilty, but didn't deserve a life sentence or the death penalty for killing a black man, so acquitted them
I first heard about the death of Emmet Till through the song by Bob Dylan, but after re-reading about it recently, it is amazing to think that it only happened in 1955, ten years after the end of the Second Word War.
Till (aged 14) had supposedly wolf whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a shop girl in Money, Mississippi, and was subsequently beaten, an eye gouged out, fatally shot, and then thrown into the Tallahatchie river.
While there was outage after the body was found, and the open casket funeral to show Till's beaten and disfigured face, there was even more when the all white jury found the killers, Roy Bryant and J.W Milam (Carolyn's husband and his half brother) to be not guilty. The killers later gave a paid interview to Look magazine in 1956, where they admitted what they had done, but because of Double Jeopardy, they could not be retried, and they went on with their lives, with Bryant not dying until 1994, aged 63.
Despite the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr preaching non violence, and the rapid escalation of the Civil Rights movement due in no small part to this case, l'd still have wanted to extract revenge on the murderers.
Just over 50 years ago - that is no time at all as far as history is concerned, and sadly, there are still plenty of people about now who still harbour the white supremacy attitude, and probably think what happened to Till was justified.