Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Jazz Wednesday - So What.

More Jazz posters in pdf format can be found here:

Two of the great jazz legends, Miles Davis & John Coltrane, filmed in 1958 performing 'So What'

... and here is something I just couldn't pass up on - what is surprising is that this was created by the Walt Disney studio. Make Mine Music

Another BBC Boob

Story from BBC NEWS:

Police have launched a nationwide crackdown on motorists who drive while
using their mobile phones, a year after tougher penalties were introduced.

The Mobile Phone Day of Action will target motorists who continue to
flout laws aimed at reducing road accidents.

Drivers can be fined £60 and given three points on their licence if
they are found driving at the wheel.

That is how the story was published on 2008/02/27 at 11:58:56 GMT © BBC MMVIII

Needless to say it has since been corrected.

Thanks to ChillZero .

Baby, you're a rich man

Here's another catchy tune ... maybe this will make the other 'go away' (c:

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

the day you went away


Chinese version

... interesting choreography

I know .. it's really sugar pop but it's a catchy tune and I bet you'll be humming it all day now.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Opera Monday - Angela Gheorghiu - Vissi d'arte

Angela Gheorghiu sings the wonderful and moving aria "Vissi d'arte" in Puccini's opera 'Tosca'. Conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Monkey Boy is Innocent

This particular piece of graffiti has been on the wall of a car park in Library Street for some years now - the accompanying piece insists 'Free Mat, Steve's the rat' - but I am still none the wiser. If anybody can shed light on who the monkey boy is I would be extremely grateful.
I stand corrected - Dr Em tells me that I should have known the reference here. Apparently the reference is to two characters in the British soap 'Eastenders'. Though how I was supposed to know that, when I don't watch the show, is beyond me.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Jazz Wednesday - Dave Brubeck

Take Five

A great piece of jazz history in Berlin 1966.

and this was recorded in the Netherlands 1961

St Louis Blues

Today's blog is sponsored by the Letter 'O'

This may look like a letter O to you but it's life and death to some poor sod - actually I 'm taking the piss, it's a public urinal. No, you don't aim for the centre like a target - apparently you step inside like any other pissoir. The UriLift was designed to solve the ever-increasing problem of street corners and alley ways being used as public toilet facilities by late night pub goers. The toilet is a stainless steel urinal that, during the day, fits in a 1.3 metre deep hole beneath the pavement and is as conspicuous as any other manhole. Open Seven nights a week from 10.30pm until 6.00am, it rises hydraulically to become an easily visible urinal. Just don't get caught standing there at 10.30pm or (even worse) at 3.00 am (c:

I have yet to see it above ground but this is what it looks like ...
and, to tell you the truth, it's not my idea of fun.

... Oh forgot to say, it's located at junction of Shaftesbury Square and Botanic Avenue.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Opera Monday - Barcarolle - Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Anne Sophie von Otter & Stephanie d'Oustrac

A barcarolle (from French; also Italian barcarola, barcarole) is a folk song sung by Venetian gondoliers, or a piece of music composed in that style. In classical music, the two most famous barcarolles are those by Jacques Offenbach, from his opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and Frédéric Chopin's Barcarolle in F sharp major for solo piano. wikipedia

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Spring is in the air

A sure sign spring isn't too far off ... the snowdrops that are appearing in gardens everywhere.

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing.

Thomas Nashe (1567–1601)

.. ahhh romance!

9 Chickweed Lane

Friday, 15 February 2008

Belmont Road

Walking down Belmont Road today I came across these two beauties ...
...... above is a municipal boundary post, which (I believe) originally marked the limit of Belfast electoral constituencies. Of course constituency boundaries have changed radically since these posts were first erected but, for some reason, they have been left in position.

The inscription reads:

and municipal
boundary of
Victoria Division
Victoria Ward

The shield at the top of the post represents the Belfast coat of arms but, after 90 years, is starting to show its age.

Victoria, a division of Belfast, was a UK parliamentary constituency in Ireland. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the British House of Commons 1918-1922. This constituency comprised the north-eastern half of East Belfast, based on the then Victoria ward of Belfast City Council. Prior to the United Kingdom general election, 1918 and after the dissolution of Parliament in 1922 the area was part of the Belfast East constituency. wikipedia

A photo of a boundary post, in much better condition, for Cromac Ward can be seen here.

This Royal Mail box is interesting because the insignia on the front 'GR' shows that it was erected during the reign of George VI (11 December 1936 – 6 February 1952) and at 50+ years it is still going strong. I believe there may still be at least 1 mail box with the 'VR' insignia in existence in Belfast and if I come across it I will be sure to take a photo.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Chewing gum

I posted a comment on Belfast Daily Photo concerning chewing gum - well here we see the council workers steam cleaning the pavements removing all traces of gum just so that the idiots can do the same thing all over again. See that black box and the other one a few yards down the street, well, for those idiots who don't know, they are called litter bins and that's where you deposit your filthy chewing gum - not on the pavement and certainly not on the benches. Now do you think you can get that into your thick skulls? Chewing gum in the bin, say it again - chewing gum in the bin and keep repeating it until you get the message.

... oh and let's not forget the workers who are doing a sterling job. Well done lads, keep up the good work.

Not so seasonal weather

Looking very much like a November morning, Belfast city centre was shrouded in mist this morning so that the Albert Clock was just a shadow of its former self.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The Link

The Link is of course Scott Walker who sang with the Walker Brothers during the '60s before releasing his own solo albums.

My sister was a huge fan of Scott Walker and was a bit upset because I was decidedly unimpressed by his boyish good looks and adequate voice. What did impress me was the choice of songs for his albums - songs by Tim Hardin and Jacques Brel. So I have Scott Engel (Walker) to thank for introducing me to really good music.

'No regrets' was of course released by the Walker Brothers when they reformed in 1976 but was never as good as the original by Tom Rush. Although the group unexpectedly scored another UK top ten hit with 'No regrets' the three albums that followed sold poorly.

The Walkers' 60s sound mixes Phil Spector's "wall of sound" techniques with symphonic orchestrations and for me that just drowned the song - so it was just amazing to listen to the songs as performed by Tim Hardin and Jacques Brel.

Tim Hardin died the same year that John Lennon was killed, but his death went mainly unnoticed.

Opera Monday - Izzy - Una Furtiva Lagrima

Isobel Izzy Cooper

Another Numbskull

Took our grandson on a visit to the zoo on saturday - perfect day - and first thing we come across is another idiot who cannot park in 1 parking bay.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Spot the link

Brel's native Belgium is a land of two languages, French and Flemish Dutch. This unusual song goes back and forth between the two languages as he laments the loss of a woman from Bruges ( West Flanders) to Ghent (East Flanders).

This hit comes from 1968 when it got to no.7 in the charts of that very year.
The video has really nothing to do with the song, so just ignore it and enjoy the song.

This is one of my favourite Tim Hardin songs - I always felt that Tim was vastly under-rated and under-appreciated.

... and similarly, Tom Rush.

I will write more later about the link, which some of you may have spotted very quickly, but in the meantime just relax and enjoy.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

One of these is not a dummy

....... though there are some 'feminists' who might argue that one of these is a dummy.
When I first saw this gent he was looking out of the window, looking for all the world like part of the window display, but by the time I got my camera powered up he had moved and spoiled a perfectly good image. Why couldn't he have just stood still for another 30 seconds?
I don't know where they got those mannequins from but they look like something alien. Compare them to the original.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


Here is a picture that may help a few women decide whether or not to give up chocolates for Lent. Though for some it may be too late after stuffing themselves on Shrove (pancake) Tuesday (c:

It is thought that pancakes are associated to this celebration because of the solar symbolism of their shape and color. A traditional food for Mardi Gras are sweet fried dumplings, cenci, usually served in the shape of a loose knot (a 5cm wide, 20cm long strip of dough one extremity of which is passed through a slit in its middle). In New Orleans the traditional food is king cake.

The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes and doughnuts were therefore an efficient way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself .

The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confessing) that Anglo-Saxon Christians were expected to do prior to receiving absolution immediately before Lent.wikipedia

On-line music

click the pic for the link

The Queen's English

"Without priority lanes being in operation neither system, as being experienced by the Metro bus service at the moment, will not work."

Oh dear, and BBC used to be the bastion of proper English

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

View from Ikea

:click for bigger

We finally made it into Ikea at the weekend and I took the opportunity to photograph Samson and Goliath from the top storey of the car park. Nice atmospheric shot with the snow on the Belfast hills. Not only do we have the 2 cranes, Harland and Wolff, and Short Brothers but I believe we can also see the SeaCat just behind the aircraft hangars. Oh and that's one of the runways to George Best Airport running across the middle of the pic.

Scientology Sucks in Manchester

When, when, when are these journalists (who are supposed to be educated people) going to learn how to speak and write proper English? This is from a report in today's Guardian:

In a series of warm-up rallies on Saturday, 100 people gathered outside a Scientology centre in Orlando carrying signs saying "Knowledge is Free". In the UK, half-a-dozen protesters leafleted shoppers and
brandished a banner reading "Scientology Sucks" in Manchester.

Monday, 4 February 2008

The Lark in the Clear Air

This is the version sung by Cara Dillon which is very good but ...

does anybody remember Paddie Bell? Though born in Belfast she was resident in Edinburgh much of her life. She was a founder member of and sang with The Corries Folk Trio from 1962 and, although she featured prominently on the covers of two Corries albums as a banjo-player, it was as a singer that her talent shone. wikipedia

Paddie left the group to become a mother, but she continued recording as a solo artist. In 1965 she recorded the album 'Herself' accompanied by Martin Carthy, and in 1968 she recorded 'I know where I'm going' with Finbar and Eddie Furey. Paddie returned to the Edinburgh folk scene in the 1990s with her own celebrated Festival show. She was a great supporter and regular attendant of Edinburgh Folk Club and appeared frequently at Festival Folk at the Oak during the Festival. In 1993 she released the solo album "The Dawn of a Brand New Day" and this was followed by 2 more albums in 1997 and 1998 titled "Make me Want to Stay" and "An Irish Kiss".

Paddie Bell, died in Edinburgh aged 74 on 3rd August 2005. Foot stompin' Celtic music.

I first heard 'The Lark in the Clear Air' sung by Paddie and will always associate it with her - she had such a beautiful voice that I don't think anyone can ever match. I have just dug out my vinyl copy of 'I know where I'm going' and it is still a real pleasure to listen to. And no way am I parting with it for any amount of money. AND there is a superb rendition of 'My Lagan Love' on said LP. That's right - LP - from well before the dawn of CD's.

Dolores Keane - My Love Is In America

Another great singer, this time from Ireland.


For those of you who are not so keen on opera - a great song by a great singer.

Opera Monday - Miriam Stockley

Alla Notte - Adagio:

The notes from YouTube:

Music by Albinoni arranged by Miriam Stockley and Ian Lynn, Italian lyric by Alexander Macinante. Taken from Miriam's classical CD 'Eternal', just released in the UK on Tula Records. The video features a mix of specially shot material and live footage from Night of the Proms. The featured violinist is Clio Gould playing a Stradivarius.

Wishing on a Star:

Fresh Garbage

This is a piece that I found on the web here:
Some might call it "hippie", but once you've waded through to the front counter you'll find it's a gem of a jewellery shop lurking beneath tassels and tie-dyes. Quality silver remains timeless and they have wads of chunky rings engraved with Gothic intricacy, or other Celtic-style designs cast in unique Irish silver. Technicolour stones from around the globe abound, as well as literally hundreds of rings for ear, nose, belly and various other bodily destinations. Fresh Garbage has been a firm fixture in Belfast, making Rosemary Street a Mecca for generations of females. A rarity in jewellery shops with atmosphere and there's some fascinating clothing.

It even has a wikipedia entry:

Fresh Garbage, known to some as simply "fresh" or "the garbage shop", is an independent music merchandise store based in Rosemary Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It sells products such as band t-shirts, belts, wrist bands, jewellery, hair dyes and bongs. The store was founded in 1969, most likely as an outgrowth of the hippy movement. It is described by Wcities as now being a "firm fixture in Belfast".

Since it has been around since the heady days of the 60's, it is a shop that both I and my daughters have had occassion to frequent. And this is the origin of the shop name :

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Spring Nicht

... pour mon amie (et sa fille)

Saturday, 2 February 2008

The other Belfast

This is HMS Belfast, moored in London's dockland. HMS Belfast is one of the two ships forming the final sub-class of the Royal Navy's Town-class cruisers, and is now a museum ship. She is painted in dazzle camouflage - and you can see how effective that is since she blends in with the buildings in the background.


This was the scene yesterday morning when we had a sudden hail shower - people went scuttling for the shelter of umbrellas, doorways, bus shelters and schoolgirls diving under their blazers.

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert—
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.