Here's my brother Simon enjoying Hooters in Clarksville. Sometimes, it's fun to see my adopted country through fresh eyes. Not that I really needed an excuse to go to Hooters, of course. I mean, how else was I going to watch Chelsea v Manchester United in the Champions League final while eating chili cheese fries? It's a tough job, but someone had to do it!
Nobody's perfect, but everybody tries Tries to be perfect in the other's eyes Stand up for your right, to say "I was wrong" Now that's a good lyric. It's from "I Was Wrong" by Danny Wilson, and is just one of a clutch of excellent tracks on their second album, Bebop Moptop. I was asked to identify the track by one of my non-English blog readers, and I had a good time listening to it again in the car this morning.
There are some people in this world who go through their whole lives without thinking of the effect their actions have on other people. Often, they go into telemarketing, or politics. As for myself, I am constantly aware that every waking moment I am more than capable of arseing everything up within about ten minutes if given the opportunity!
Here are some video tributes to my younger brother Simon, who flew in last week and is staying until the end of the month. It's been ten years since he visited the States with me, how time flies. Marc Almond - Stories of Johnny
Stan Ridgeway - Camouflage
Nik Kershaw - Don Quixote
Marc Almond And Gene Pitney - Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart
Almost forgot, I meant to post this little oddity - synthpop afficionados may be familiar with Iris, a band from Texas which have released several well-regarded albums. The lead singer is Reagan Jones, and at some point in the past I came across this demo vocal he did which is completely different from his trademark sound. I kind of liked the country feel, and the lyrics, so here it is:
In which we imagine a world where the compact disc was introduced in 1980, and now-obscure artists and albums could be preserved for posterity...
The RAH Band was in effect one person, Richard Anthony Hewson (hence the initials) who was an acclaimed arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Surfacing from time to time, the project's largest hit was "Clouds Across The Moon", which was a top ten hit in many countries, including an Australian Number One.
Despite this success, the parent album Mystery, which was briefly released on CD, is very rare with copies being sold for in excess of $200 each. Even some of the various RAH Band compilations now command high prices.
"Clouds Across The Moon" was re-recorded in 2007 and perhaps one day this interesting album might be re-released. (UPDATE - the album is now available on iTunes and Amazon MP3 on both sides of the pond.)
Any Major Dude has quizzes, a wide variety of music theme posts, and most tellingly some really scary moustaches worn by British footballers, which should earn him a knighthood in my opinion.
The Delectable Miss Parker has been quiet lately which means that either Gary Numan has a new album out, or she is being screwed over by the moving people. Apparently, it's the latter. Anyway, can't very well post some links without a mention, can I? I'm reminded of a quote from Ice Age: The Meltdown, when a dung beetle is pushing some dung up a hill with his wife in tow: "Do we have to take all this crap? I'm sure they have crap where we're going!" Moving does truly suck. That reminds me, XOLondon moved recently as well - I can't remember the details, but I'm sure Roisin Murphy was involved in some way. He loves her!
Finally, here's a weird one. I have a couple of Amazon links kicking around, and while I get about 500 clickthroughs a month, nobody buys anything. The last time I checked, I got a ten cent royalty because someone clicked through and then bought an mp3 by The Weepies, a band I'd never heard of. The cover with a happy whale was pretty distinctive though. So when I saw it featured on i-Tunes, I had to check it out. First track I located was "Hideaway", the title track, and it's a stormer. Maybe you'll like it too.
I was driving home from the airport on Monday, as my brother boarded a plane to London via Charlotte, when it occurred to me (in a kind of Homer Simpson forehead slapping way) that yet again I had let him slip away from me without pointing out just what an incredible influence he has been on my life over the years.
In many ways, we are looking at life from completely different perspectives. I am married, with a large extended family. Ed is single, and lives with mum and dad, in the same house we grew up in.
I had a college education, became a qualified professional and have held nearly a dozen different jobs in many places. Ed left school without any qualifications and has worked at the same retail store since then.
I have flitted in and out of the Christian Church, usually because I am extremely intellectually questioning and am uncomfortable with overt emotional displays. I'm also self-centered and lazy, if you want to get right to it. Ed, on the other hand, has taught Sunday School diligently for many years, and has always expressed a simple yet unshaken faith that I have to admire.
Although we look alike, our most significant difference is that I am able bodied - albeit the body of a walrus after snack time - and Ed, who was stricken by Spina Bifida before birth, is confined to a wheelchair. Yet the truth is that while we have an incredibly intimate understanding through our love of music and the many shared memories we have of growing up together, it is his straightforward outlook on life that has impressed me the most. He is able to find happiness in the most simple things, things that I might ignore or take for granted. He can look at a catfish in a pond and be completely in that moment, lost to everything else. When I found a Cosby Show DVD set for him at the Cracker Barrel store, I overheard him describing this as though I had presented him with an Academy Award. We spent some time at a new retro-themed arcade (which was awesome, by the way) and he lost himself in the opportunities that visit presented. Once again, I had to evaluate my own life - pressures of work, worry about the mortgage, car loans, the economy - and found myself taking notes. This might sound a little simplistic, but it's absolutely true. When you grow up with someone who is unable to do so many things, it's impossible not to count the blessings in your own life, that you experience every day.
So forgive the lack of updates here lately. I've been watching some fish.