Riding to New York

We are freshly returned from the Passenger concert at Kirstenbosch, and it turns out that Mike Rosenberg (for he is it) is a great raconteur as well as a fantastic singer/songwriter. He kept the sold out audience entertained for 90 minutes with jokes, stories and music. A really great show.

Song of the concert was this one though – sung to 5 minutes of utter silence from the 6,000 people present; that’s a massive ask for the generally very disrespectful South African crowds and something I’ve only ever seen once before in SA with James Blunt’s No Bravery. Mike tells the story of meeting a guy near a gas station in Minnesota at 3am one morning, while heading out to buy cigarettes. They strike up a conversation after the man tells him that

This is best cigarette I’ve ever smoked

and from there it transpires that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, doesn’t know how long he has left and has sold up on the West Coast, bought a motorcycle and is heading to New York to go and spend his remaining days – however many there may be – with his family. Riding to New York is the song that Mike wrote about that meeting and the man’s journey:

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It was one of several thoroughly depressing numbers, for which Mike apologised. There were many upbeat moments as well though, some really good banter with the crowd, some singing along and a whole heap of swearing.

Great evening. Make a plan to go and see him (although, as so many Cape Town gigs do, this marked the end of his current tour, so, sorry for you).

1 Comment | Tagged , , | Posted in music, positive thoughts, this is south africa

Tonight’s Menu

Friends round tonight, and it’s nice to try something a little different every now and then, so I’m doing a Sheffield-inspired menu for them.

Toad in the Hole (in the Road)

The infamous Slutty Rutty Butty: “molten cheese, spicy tomato sauce, bread, like some unholy marriage of bacon sandwich and chip butty (in a good way)”, served with mushy peas and without a glass of King’s Blockhouse IPA

Chocolate and Hendo’s mousse

Recipes to follow if stuff works out.

It could be great, it could be a disaster; it’s going to be fun either way. *looks up phone numbers for local takeaways*

5 Comments | Posted in positive thoughts, sheffield

Seafret – Oceans

I don’t know much about Seafret, nor about the actress who plays the bullied superhero schoolgirl in this video of theirs (apparently, she’s been in Game of Thrones), but fortunately that doesn’t stop me from enjoying this track:

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In more good fortune, there’s google, which tells me that the actress is Maisie Williams, and that yes, she played Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. It appears that Arya is still alive and well, which I believe is unusual for the series in question.

Seafret are a bit more difficult to find information on except to say that they’re from Bridlington on Yorkshire’s east coast (Yorkshire doesn’t have a west coast) and still “unfathomably young” and “are rooted in acoustic fare, songcraft which sounds both deeply traditional and immediately fresh”.


And yes, it’s more of that slow folk-rock stuff that was mentioned yesterday, albeit with a touch more indie than most, but it’s pleasant melancholy and another band worthy of further investigation.

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Podcast recommendation

Here’s a podcast recommendation for you.
It’s BBC 6 Music’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. And here’s the direct podcast link.

The problem with a lot of music-related podcasts is copyright. Basically, that means that even if you’re listening to an interview with an artist, and even if they’re discussing their latest release: the lyrics, the chords, the harmonies, you don’t then get to actually listen to the music because their record company says that it can only be played in certain countries. To avoid any complication as to where people can and can’t download stuff, the radio station cuts all the music out of the podcast so as not to annoy the record company. It’s frustrating and kind of defeats the object. There are ways around it, apparently, but I’d imagine that they are extremely naughty and illegal so I certainly wouldn’t recommend that you try them. Not even a little bit.

But the BBC Introducing Mixtape is different because there are no record companies involved – these are unsigned artists. And thus, there are fewer rules on where their music can be shared and played. This is a good thing. and the music isn’t bad either. Although we seem to be heading vaguely towards a folk-rock sound, there are glimpses of other stuff – really good stuff.

Like So&So, for example. His Down The Crown [soundcloud] is quite fun. I know that it’s considered poor form to say “he sounds like…”, but it’s inevitably, parallels are going to be drawn to Mike Skinner and The Streets, and that’s no bad comparison.

And a bit of RoBoTaLiEn – I can’t forgive the way it’s written, but the music is a bit Carter USM with speedy rhythm almost drowning out the lyrics. I was bouncing in my car.

Best bit (possibly, anyway) about the whole thing is the lack of interruption, save for the reminder that you can find the tracklisting and band info at freshonthenet.co.uk, so you’re never going to miss out on the stuff you want to know.

Exploration starts here.

1 Comment | Tagged , , , | Posted in 6000 recommends, music, positive thoughts, uk

When Gmail let me down

I have a couple of gmail accounts. One for the day-to-day stuff and one for the blog. And I have to say that for a free service, it is superb. It’s got a lovely intuitive interface, it’s always accessible and it’s very reliable. Until today – or rather November – it was, anyway.

I went onto my “blog” gmail today to send an email, which is a bit of an unusual occurrence (99% of its use is receiving email). No issues thus far, the inbox mildly replete with a few Superbru reminders (I don’t really use them) and a handful of PR emails. Once I’d sent the email I went in there to write, I decided to tidy out the inbox, but as soon as I had deleted the 23 items in there, another 142 suddenly arrived. In one lump. They weren’t there before. Honest.

I think I would have noticed.

Mostly nowt important – stuff from The Pixies about their latest re-release, more Superbru reminders, some abuse jokes about Eskom, and a couple of missives from WordPress.com. But the earliest one dated back to November 26th. So 2½ months of emails in one go. And moreover, the wodge included 4 emails from early December which were time sensitive and are now well past their use by date and have made me look rude and/or lazy and/or a bit crap.

Ugh. Apology emails are on their way out right now.

Looking back at the emails I deleted, they were interspersed with the ones that arrived in one huge lump, so Gmail was apparently sending some emails through, but not others. So this was some sort of selective constipation, which makes it even more weird. Googling gives no possible explanation, but then what do you type into the search box – it’s one of those difficult things to Google (such things remain Google’s biggest (only?) major fault).

Has this ever happened to you? Or can you suggest a reason why it might have happened to me? (Please leave my atheism out of any possible explanation.)
There’s no indication that this is happening or has happened on any other gmail account running on the 6000.co.za domain.

Colour me confused. Shade me embarrassed. And tint me acutely disappointed.

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