300 Days of Beer – Day 295

Day 295 – 6th June 2017 

300beersA busy day at the office. It could be seen as a good thing, or a bad thing! Either way, I was glad to come home and make my way through tonight’s beer selection. Speaking of which, said beer is from the Marston’s brewery, and it’s called ’61 Deep’. So called because the well at the brewery is 61 metres deep. Simple as that!! For more, why not visit their website at http://www.marstons.co.uk/beers

Day 295 - 61 Deep

300 Days of Beer – Day 294

Day 294 – 3rd June 2017

300beersAfter a long hiatus (thanks to the delights of depression and associated medication) I’m back to finish off this grand challenge with the last few beers. It was a spontaneous decision as I walked past the beer shelves in Morrison’s. So I picked up three new beers I definitely hadn’t tasted before and put them in the trolley. The first of the three is a feisty, fruity IPA from the Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria called ‘Azimuth’. Made with hops from around the world it really does tantalise the tastebuds. If you’re interested in what else they have on offer, scoot off to their website http://www.hardknott.com

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The Saturday Shuffle – Week 2

It’s Saturday afternoon people. Which means only one thing – shuffle time! So, without any further ado, here we go…

  1. A Boy Like Me – Cast. Remember Cast? Unbelievably good band from Liverpool that were big in the 90’s? Well, they went away for a bit, and then came back a few years ago with a pretty damned good album called ‘Troubled Times’. This is from that record and it’s still got the classic Cast formula.
  2. Peacock Suit – Paul Weller. The Modfather. This was one of those songs I knew about but never really listened to it much. Then I bought one of his ‘Best Of’ collections and that was that. Does anyone know what a ‘Peacock Suit’ is? Do you have to kill the peacocks first?!
  3. Twist And Shout – The Beatles. With the large selection of Beatles songs on my phone, there was a pretty good chance a Beatles song would come on. Would everyone in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery. A classic Lennon line from the Royal Variety Performance before blasting this gem out. This is the album version that apparently shredded John’s voice after a long day in the studio.
  4. Swanee River – Hugh Laurie. Hmm. An interesting track. I can’t remember where I heard that Hugh Laurie had recorded an album, it may have been on Jools Holland’s show. But to be fair, it’s not bad.
  5. Paradise City – Guns N Roses. I was first exposed to this as a fresh-faced 7 year old boy thanks to my brother. He had the ‘Appetite For Destruction’ album on cassette (remember those?) and as a result of having neighbouring bedrooms, I tended to absorb a lot of his musical taste. There wasn’t much option!!

That was painless. Same time next week?

Song Title Short Story #13

Redondo Beach – Morrissey

“I don’t need this bullshit,” Clare yelled. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the man who brought you here to try and help you relax,” Mark yelled back. “Some thanks this is!” He reached over for his phone and stood up to leave. Clare stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Mark stood in the hotel room, seething. He looked around for his shoes.

He was just finishing tying the laces on his shoes when Clare came out of the bathroom. She sat down on the bed next to him, but he ignored her, studiously looping the lace and wrapping the other one round before finishing with a deliberate motion. Just to be sure, he double tied it as he had with the other shoe. Clare cleared her throat as if to talk, but before she could start, Mark stood up and walked to the door. He stopped for a moment, then turned round.

“Actually, why am I going?”

“What do you mean?” Clare asked, a little puzzled.

“I paid for this room. Maybe you should go instead?” Mark almost sneered. “Go on, take your things and go.” Clare looked at him in a state of shock. Without a word, she stood up, grabbed her bag off the bed and stormed out. Mark threw himself down on the bed and buried his head in the pillow.

It was about two and a half hours later, Mark was half-watching something on television, and he felt bad. He couldn’t even remember what had set off the argument. He picked his mobile off the bed next to him and dialled Clare’s number. It rang out for a bit and then went to answerphone. He left a grovelling message and begged her to come back. He went over to the window and looked out at the sea view he had paid extra for. His attention was drawn to a crowd just by the water’s edge. An ambulance was there. He felt sorrow for whoever was in trouble, but he couldn’t get Clare off his mind. He turned away from the window and headed for the door, swiping the room key off the table as he passed.

He came out of the lift into the hotel foyer. He went over to the reception desk and asked the young girl if Clare had come past. The girl listened to his description and gave a shrug of her shoulders.

“It’s been busy.” She told him. Mark thanked her and went out through the front entrance. As he walked, a group of elderly ladies hurried past. He heard snippets of conversation – ‘poor girl’, ‘troubled soul’ and ‘pretty’. He saw the ambulance drive off down the street and an inexplicable feeling of dread came over him. He ran back to the hotel and spoke to a different receptionist who was just removing his coat. Mark described Clare to him. The guy looked at him with sadness in his eyes.

Mark went up to the room again and threw himself on the bed, tears streaming down his face.

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 1

Here we go with another attempt at a regular feature. Every Saturday afternoon I’ll be posting the first five tracks that the shuffle function on my phone throws up. Not literally, of course. I will then try to write a few words about the tracks, either why I like it, or if there are any associated memories and stories – though with my memory, you’ll be lucky!!

  1. Angie – The Rolling Stones. This is quite a delicate song from the normally bluesy Stones. I suppose that’s why I like it.
  2. All My Loving – The Beatles. This is a live version from the Anthology series of albums released in tandem with the documentary series back in 1995/1996. Funnily enough, I heard a pretty good rendition of this song last night at the Hummingbirds gig in Chester!!
  3. Love Sick – Bob Dylan. One of the more recent Dylan songs. I can’t remember which album it’s from, and to be honest I probably haven’t played it a great deal compared to his earlier work.
  4. Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out) – John Lennon. If you know me, you’ll know I’m pretty bonkers about John Lennon. This is one of his solo tracks from the Walls And Bridges album. Apparently, he wrote it with the intention of getting Frank Sinatra to record it. He does a pretty damned good job of it himself, but I think you can probably imagine it being given the full Sinatra treatment.
  5. The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie. A great Bowie track probably less known in the pool of the Bowie back catalogue. I’ve got previous with this song, using it for one of my Song Title Short Stories, which you can read here https://specsrugssausagerolls.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/song-title-short-story-2/  if you are so inclined!

And there you are. The first five tracks which give you an idea of the music I love.

Until next time…

Getting All Political

There are just over two weeks until the General Election in the UK. You know, the snap election that Mrs May said she had no intention of calling, and then in a U-turn that is becoming a habit, changed her mind.

At 23.59 tonight (Monday 22nd May 2017) the window for registering to vote closes, so if you want to vote but haven’t registered, the sands of time are almost run out. If you’re in the 18-24 age group, you have to realise that your vote is incredibly important. Whether you’re a Tory toerag, a Labour lackey, or a Lib Dem lover, your vote is your democratic right. Remember the voting statistics for the EU Referendum? It was the 18-24 year olds who failed to turn up in their droves, and then shouted about the older generation ruining their futures.

Excuse the language, but his point is valid.

However you vote doesn’t matter. Just put your cross in the box, and have your say. So many people claim that they aren’t interested in politics. But every little part of your life is influenced by politics. Whether it’s the cost of your shopping or the amount of tax you pay on your wages. If you’re a parent, then you have to worry about your children’s education – be it the tests they’re subjected to or the school dinners they get. Not to mention the cost of them going on to University. If you’re older, then your concern is going to be healthcare – access to your GP, or long-term care requirements.

I don’t know why, but the last few votes (General Election or Referendum) have tended to be fought on the basis of spreading fear of the opposition rather than promoting the positives of their own campaign. And the mainstream media have enabled this ‘nasty politics’.

Personally, I am still undecided how I’ll vote. In the North Shropshire constituency, Owen Patterson represents the Conservatives in what I would call an ultra-safe seat with a majority of around 17,000 in 2015. But, despite this, I will still vote. And still carry on complaining when Mr Patterson wins again. I would like to vote with my convictions, but feel a tactical vote for the most likely to defeat the Tories may be required.

The amount of character assassination aimed at Jeremy Corbyn is unfair. The picture of a bumbling imbecile with no leadership capabilities has been propagated by the right-leaning media and even the so-called impartial BBC seems to have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. Personally, I find him honest, fair, and engaging. He is never afraid to talk to people, in comparison with Theresa May who has gone from one stage-managed invite-only meeting to the next, avoiding unsolicited questions that could uncover the incompetence and inability behind the “Strong and Stable” mantra.

At the end of the day, this election is all about ‘Brexit’. Theresa May is hoping for a big enough majority to enable her to carry out the biggest act of self-inflicted stupidity this nation has ever engaged in. This is where all the Brexiteers get defensive and tell me to stop moaning… the nation decided… democracy… we want our country back… yada yada yada. But there is the right way to leave the EU, and there is the Tory, UKIP-lite way.

So, all I can say is go and vote. But don’t be a dick and vote for the Tories!!!

Song Title Short Story #12

Just Pretend – Elvis Presley

Something was wrong. I had walked away too soon. We were both heartbroken at the time, and we’d kept out of each others way for over a month, trying to let the emotional scars heal. This was easy enough considering the geographical distance between the two of us. I often wondered if you were doing okay, or if you were suffering just as I was.

Then, one day, I stopped and thought to myself – ‘what was I doing?’ It was blatantly clear to me that I needed you, and I hoped you still needed me. I took a huge leap of faith and I keyed your number into my phone and pressed the ‘call’ icon. The phone rang out, and just as I was about to give up, I heard the click and your familiar voice. We talked, awkwardly at first, but then the familiar old ways came back and soon we were laughing like we used to.

As the conversation tailed off, neither of us wanting to address the elephant in the room, for fear that the feelings might not be mutual, I wondered if this was it, which scared me more than anything, so I took a deep breath, and went for it.

“I made a huge mistake, leaving you like that,” I admitted. “You said that if I needed you, I’d know what to do. Does that still stand?” There was a momentary silence, then a quiet sound that could have been a sigh, or a sob.

“What do you think?” She replied.

“Okay then,” I sighed. “I’ll pack some stuff, and I’ll be with you very soon.”

“I can’t wait,” she said, a happy tone in her voice now. “Until then, I’ll just pretend you’re already here.”

“This is going to be brilliant,” I shouted, both of us laughing now, the sadness completely forgotten. “I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again,” I told her.

“Well, we’ll just have to pretend you never left,” she suggested.

That was the longest three hour journey of my life! The weather was truly awful, rain lashing down on my windscreen, requiring the wiper blades to be on full speed, and me, peering through the darkness, trying to see the road ahead. But all along the way, I kept telling myself this was totally worth it. As I got closer to your house, the stress of driving was replaced by that familiar feeling of butterflies and nervousness. But when I did finally arrive at your doorstep and rang the doorbell, you opened the door and I knew it had been completely worth it. We embraced there and then, and I promised you as we stood in the rain, that I was where I belonged, and I would not be leaving your side ever again.

Once I was dried off, we cuddled up on the sofa and watched some dodgy television show and that was where we fell asleep – in each others arms.