One of my photos

1964 – The Ballad of Hollis Brown

December 9th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

OK, so this might not be an obvious one. It isn’t one of Bob Dylan’s best-known songs and wasn’t even a single, but although I obviously wasn’t listening to this as a two-year-old I did listen to it a lot at quite a young age.

When I was growing up there were very few records in the house. There was some Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan that I remember and later on there was some classical. At my Grandad’s there were some jazz and ragtime records I enjoyed although the only one I can remember the name of now is Pee Wee Hunt’s Twelfth Street Rag album. There were also kids’ records like Wally Whyton and Pinky & Perky.

For some reason, and despite a not very exciting cover, I kept coming back to The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Bob Dylan, especially the first three tracks on side one, so this song loomed larger in my early years than would be expected. Listening to it now I can’t think or remember why I liked it so much when I was so young. Its a powerful song, but hardly child-friendly. There are other 1964 songs I like better now, but none of them captured my imagination as early as this did.

Two other songs from the year stand out as songs I like a lot more (She’s Not There by the Zombies and You Really Got Me by the Kinks) but I came to them much later, almost certainly later than the 1960’s so I am sticking with Bob Dylan’s song because it actually meant something to me in the 60’s.

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1963 – She Loves You

December 9th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

At I was still too young to be engaged with music other than maybe nursery rhymes, and without having the good fortune of one of my all-time favourites being released, as in 1962, it isn’t easy to pick a song for 1963.

Looking at the singles for this year there are precious few that I know very well, and some of them I won’t have been familiar with until the 1970’s. There are some Beach Boys, Cliff Richard and Gerry & the Pacemakers songs. I’m sure I would have heard Summer Holiday while I was still quite young, and Ring of Fire. And of course there is Puff the magic Dragon. That was a staple of the BBC’s ‘Family Favourites’ for many, many years. Its a safe bet that Ed Stewart would have played that every couple of weeks. The same could be said of that Allan Sherman song about summer camp, but no way am I putting that on a playlist that I intend to listen to.

In the absence of any standout song I have gone for the Beatles and She Loves You. Not my favourite Beatles song by any means, but I reckon I became aware of it quite early on. The thing about the Beatles is that I was always a bit young for them. They split up when I was 8 or 9 and in their last few years they were not really making music for the under-10s. I later came to appreciate the Let It Be and Abbey Road albums but at the time they were a bit adult for me. I can remember enjoying songs like Yellow Submarine, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Otopus’s Garden when I was very young, but they are child-friendly songs.

Still, it would be a bit of a travesty to not have the Beatles in the list somewhere, and 1963 is as good a place as any.

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1962 – Green Onions

December 7th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

A few months ago I created a Spotify playlist with one track for every year of my life. I already have plenty of playlists that mostly have similar types of music in them – so a punk playlist, a rap playlist, a krautrock playlist, and so on, but I am trying to set some up with more variety and this was meant to do that.

No fixed rules or criteria. No point in getting completely OCD about it, butI was aiming at one track for each year I have been around and it would be something released in that year, and preferably one that I listened to a lot during that year. To make sure it is more varied I decided to only have one track per artist. Oh, and I also wanted something I can bear to listen to now, otherwise I would probably have ended up with Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) for 1971.

Given those loose constraints you might imagine that 1962 would be the hardest year to pick a track from. I was only around for just over three months of 1962 and wasn’t really listening to music then, and I have never been a huge fan of 60’s music, but it turned out to be the easiest choice to make. [Read more →]

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Unwelcome growth

November 28th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The tl;dr version: I have some cancer, but it will probably all work out in the end. To expand on that a little… [Read more →]

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Stupid rules OK

November 4th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I may have mastered the art of stupid, but at least I have some competition within the family.

After a couple of embarrassing incidents where we had to call our son to come home from work and let us in the house because we forgot to pick up a set of keys when walking the dogs, I fitted a key safe outside the house. Apart from anything, we would be stuffed if Frankie was away on holiday or (much more likely) his phone was dead.

After about a week I took the dogs out with Frankie. Jayne had gone to bed early because she was knackered and had to get up early in the morning. Got home and realised I didn’t have my keys. Then found that the boy only had his bike keys and not the door key. No worry. I have a key ssafe with a spare key in it! I retrieved the spare key and found that it did not fit, because it was a back door key, so we had to wake Jayne up anyway.

Of course she called me all the names imaginable. [Read more →]

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Magic Darts

October 29th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

While watching the European championship darts this weekend I found myself daydreaming about being a darts player, as I often do. I know I would never be good enough to even play in a pub league team, but wouldn’t it be fun coming up with a nickname and choosing walk-on music for the tournaents?

I think the name would be pretty obvious. With my name it would have to be ‘missile’, as in the infamous Scud missile, so that is sorted: a claret and blue shirt with “Skud Missile” across the back

The walk-on music is a bit harder. Michael Van Gerwen has already taken the best possible one, Seven Nation Army. Some of the other choices are OK. James Wade using Thin Lizzy is good and somebody else has Daydream Believer which works quite well. I’m not sure about Snakebite’s choice in terms of music, but it does work well for him and his style. Ditto Max Hopp’s use of that terrible ‘Oh-oh-oh Baby, Ooh Ah!’ song. Terrible music, but good for the drunk crowd to sing along to.

Personally I like the more dramatic, guitar-based tracks for this. My current thinking is that any of these would be good walk-on tunes for a darts tournament:

  • Sad But True – Metallica
  • School’s Out – Alice Cooper
  • Epic – Faith No More
  • No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age
  • Time Bomb – Rancid
  • Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
  • Black Night – Deep Purple
  • Fight for your Right – Beastie Boys
  • Dog Eat Dog – Ted Nugent

Mind you, you can’t go wrong with Green Onions. Maybe I would give that a go.

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The art of motorcyce maintenance

October 15th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I’m starting to think that maybe I should have bought a new motorbike instead of a used one, because things keep going wrong with it.

First of all it was the back tyre losing air a lot, which turned out to be a split in the sidewall. While getting that sorted I had the clutch lever replaced because it was bent out of shape – though to be fair that was our fault, probably done when Jayne fell off it.

Then it was all the instrument lights going, so I bought soome LED bulbs and put them in it. Then it was losing headlinghts because of a blown bulb, so I got a new H4 bulb and fitted that. At the same time I bought a new brake lever so it matched the new clutch lever, and because there was a bit of a bend that was on it when I bought the bike.

There was also the small matter of a bend foot peg that a friend managed to bend back for me, but that was totally my fault because I did it when I came off the bike.

Now it is the speedo. On the way down to Brightona today we were on the A23 and halfway down I realised that the speedo was on zero, even though I was doing about 65mph, Then I realised that the trip counter and odometer were not going round, so now I need to find out whether the speedo cable has come loose or is broken.

I’m sure I wouldn’t have half of these problems on a new bike, but then again I am learning more about bike repairs than I would have done otherwise, so maybe its all for the good after all.

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Dad jokes

October 15th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Recently I have had some trouble eating anything much more solid than yogurt, so I have been having a lot of soup. Mostly cream of tomato, carrot and coriander, leek and potato, parsnip, lentil and bacon and so on.

In th supermarket yesterday we were looking in the soup aisle to see what other options there were to add a bit of variety, and it went a bit like this:

Jayne: chicken soup?

Me: got some of that at home

Jayne: pea soup?

Me: yes I probably do by now

True story.

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Keeping Crawley Open House open

September 2nd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Politics

Sign the petition to try and stop this cut

There was a bit of a shock in the West Sussex county council’s new forward plan when it was published this week. The wording is all quite bland and might not sound like much, but the implications are that several services in the county will not be able to afford to continue, including the Crawley Open House service. [Read more →]

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Camel Balls

September 1st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Liquid filled!

One good thing I did see in Waterlooville was the sweet shop, which had these in the window..

I really can’t imagine somebody saying to their kids “if you eat all your greens I’ll let you suck some camel balls after dinner”.

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