Just When You Think It’s Safe…

Just when you think it’s safe to get back into bed at 4 am after doing a pee, you get bashed on the head by an all-lights-blazing, 100% full-on supercharged bout of wakefulness. At four o-bloody clock! What sort of time do you call this? I asked my brain as it insisted, like a toddler on Christmas Day morning, that it’d had quite enough sleep and was now bouncing around ready to start the day and unwrap all its presents. Except that there weren’t any presents. Go back to sleep! I told it grumpily. It’s not time to get up yet. So I lay down and tried all the usual tricks: putting my hands in the sleep mudra:

Image removed on request https://lizardyoga.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/077fd-shaktimudra.jpg

counting down from 300 and reliving yesterday backwards whilst talking to myself in a very drowsy voice. Nope. Not having it; nothing worked – until about 6.30 just after OH got up when I finally lapsed into a sort of hallucinogenic doze with some spangled dreams which I can’t now remember, then when OH came in with the tea trying to calculate how much time spent in spangled hallucinogenic dreams counteracts two and a half hours of solid wakefulness. I am not a happy bunny.

In other news, after a long war of attrition in which OH tried every which way to debate with a friend on Facebook about BLM and other issues (I unfriended this person after they made rude jokes about orthodox Jews) OH has finally broken ties and unfriended them! Kudos to OH; this was a long time coming and whilst nobody wants to live in an echo chamber, this particular guy had crossed so many lines that he definitely had it coming. Would that it were so easy in real life… I’ll leave you with Al Stewart’s thoughts on the subject.

Kirk out

Desert Island, Anyone?

I’ve been listening to this a lot lately.


I’ve loved Rufus Wainright’s voice ever since I first heard his version of ‘Hallelujah’ – which, incidentally, is one of my Desert Island Discs (prev posts).  Have you ever thought about what your eight records might be?  I’ve refined my list over the years and I think I’ve come up with the definitive set to last me through my time on the island.  They are, in this order:

‘O Jesus I have Promised’ (the original tune not the boppy modern one*)  This comes from my childhood when one day an organist asked which was my favourite hymn.  I couldn’t think of anything so I just said ‘O Jesus I have Promised’ and he played it for me.

‘Suzanne’ by Leonard Cohen, from secondary school where I heard it for the first time:


‘The Master Song’ also by Cohen, from the first LP I ever bought, ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’



‘The News from Spain’ by Al Stewart, the saddest and most beautiful song he ever recorded:

‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by the Who – my favourite EVER Who track (although, as Thing points out, it’s probably also the only right-wing pop-song ever recorded.  Though I dispute that it’s right wing…)  I got into the Who in my early teens and was particularly proud of the fact that they, like me, are from Hounslow and once played at the White Bear pub.  Which was a right dive…

Something by Bach – either a Brandenburg Concerto or Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.  Since I learned to play piano I have loved Bach.  When I listen to Toccata and Fugue I can feel bits of my brain knitting together.  Quite simply, Bach is god.

‘Hallelujah’ – the Rufus Wainright version.  This period of my life – when ‘I’m Your Man’ came out, is associated with pain and recovery and the song expresses it perfectly.

And finally, ‘If it be Your Will’ – also Leonard Cohen though sung by Anthony.  This is my favourite Cohen song and the most sublime thing he ever did.  It is also the song I would like played at my funeral.

So now you know.

Bong!  In other news, I am signed up to do a poetry gig at Bar Cultura, as part of a comedy night they are having during Artbeat.  It’s on 19th June and I’ll keep you posted.  I also discovered today that a friend with whom I have also discussed poetry is, like me, a great fan of C P Snow.  A guided tour of Snow’s Leicester haunts is promised….

And that’s it for today.

Kirk out

*except that there are about ten original tunes, none of which is the one I remember

I Should Have Listened to Al

I know I bang on about Leonard Cohen a lot, but in my youth this guy was almost as important to me: Al Stewart’s songs kept me company right through my teens and twenties.  From ‘Bedsitter Images’ his first album featuring the song ‘You Should Have Listened to Al’ to the bittersweet ‘Orange’, and culminating in what most people consider his apogee, ‘Past, Present and Future’, Stewart always has something to say, and his lyrics are at least as important as the music.  I guess that’s what I look for in a singer: the authenticity of personal experience.  My all-time favourite track of Al Stewart is the lament for lost love, ‘The News from Spain’ which always makes me cry:


It has some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking guitar-strings I’ve ever heard.  Al also has a keen interest in history and a lot of his songs feature historical figures:



I have to say, though, he’s not as good live as Cohen is.  Cohen always gives 11o%, but Al can sometimes seem lackadaisical, almost unbothered.  The last time I saw him he did a very short set, and the tickets were not cheap.

So there you are.  I’m trying to think of something witty to say to finish today’s post.  Meanwhile here is some light music:


Kirk out

Spam, glorious spam

I must be getting more successful; I’m receiving more spam.  Seven spam comments today… and the award for top spam comment of the week goes to the following, from ‘buyapplespares.com’, who noted: ‘Very interesting post.  Made curious me.’  Mm… jolly good, then.  Usually spam comments nowadays seem to go for a rather bland appreciative statement, designed to make you think this might actually be a genuine reader: comments such as ‘you have compiled some awesome information here’, or ‘I have been looking for these informatics for a long time.  Very brilliant!’   You sense that these people’s first language may not be English…

Rather a rushed post this morning as I have to charge off and lead Explorers: we are doing ‘feeling left out’ today.  This is a subject close to my heart as when I was young I never knew what was going on, probably because I had drifted off and wasn’t listening – but also because I just didn’t Get It: I inhabited my own world as a child, and this world rarely overlapped with what others were pleased to call the real one.  In some ways I kinda wish I’d been home educated – except that it would have been my mother who educated me at home, and that would not have been good: one of the positive aspects of school was getting out of the house and seeing my friends.  I was remembering Susan this morning, my best friend at school.  I’m not sure why we were friends as she was generally very rude and critical and in the end I ditched her, but she did introduce me to Al Stewart.  I commented that I got him mixed up with Al Greene: ‘You’d better not do that at our youth club,’ she retorted.  ‘People get very annoyed if you mix up Al Stewart and Al Greene.’  I gulped.  These youth club people must be very scary, I surmised.  People in general were very scary to me at that age; I was painfully shy and found it extremely hard to talk to anyone.  In fact alcohol was for me quite liberating and I probably wouldn’t have made half the social contacts I did, without it.

Speaking of which, last night was very enjoyable; a trip to The Salmon beer festival with Peter and Andy.  The landlord was a great character and our trip to Bateman’s brewery in Lincolnshire was recalled.  The brewery was held together with bits of string…

As am I this morning.

Let’s hope I don’t unravel.

Kirk out

Let’s thing another thong…

Was there ever a more pointless garment than the thong? I grabbed a pack of reduced underwear in BHS the other day, only to discover that they were reduced in more than price – they were thongs! So I gave them to Holly, who is able to wear these things. But now my underwear drawer is still reduced.
Very snowy here still – it fell picturesquely all afternoon in that white and fluffy way we all love if we’re safe and warm behind a pane of glass.
We were tucked up safe and warm from the snow
with Life with the Lyons on the radio
That’s a couple of lines from an Al Stewart song. I’ll try to find a link. I used to love Al Stewart, saw him a couple of times in London.

It’s very cold this morning – I am sitting up in bed and wishing I had brought my fingerless gloves.
Lunch with Claire yesterday – delicious mushroom soup at Mrs Bridges. It’s not so much a tea shoppe as a tea shopp. No lacy doyleys but proper teapots and home-made sandwiches. Reminds me of Withnail and I:
We want the finest wines known to humanity! We want them HERE, and we want them NOW!” Apparently in this scene Richard E Grant corpsed so badly that they had to leave it in.

Few beers with Peter and Andy in the King Richard III. It’s on HIghcross St, silly! Fancy not remembering that! I knew where it was!
The Tiger was fine, but the mild was not real. Conversation with barman:
– How is the mild?
– It’s OK
– Is it real?
– As opposed to what? Imaginary?
This did not bode well.
Oh! Yes – title. This was an early song of Cohen’s which I loved: “Lets sing another song, boys”. Here it is:

Kirk out