CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Saturday, 27 August 2005

Soul Spectrum

"Greg Edwards made his first broadcast on Capital Radio back in 1974 presenting Soul Spectrum. Through that show, Greg became a broadcasting institution and was responsible for the launch of the careers of many people, including The O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and Billy Paul."

Since I lived in the outskirts of London in those days (was a loyal Capital listener and, later worked on security for some Capital outside broadcasts), I actually remember listening to Greg Edwards' very first broadcast of Soul Spectrum in 1974.

In 1974, I was 17 and, typically, it seems like only yesterday. I could almost imagine it was something like 10 years ago, but 31 years? Nah, this isn't registering. But even in the 60's, while everyone else was screaming at the Beatles, I was listening to the likes of Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Four Tops and The Temptations.

So that was it, I was hooked! Heck, I don't know whether you'd call Greg "a broadcasting institution", addiction might be a more accurate word!

I remember that in 1975/76 our Saturday drill went like this:

  • Ensure you got back from work / shopping in time for the start of the show.
  • Play radio in bedroom / bathroom while getting ready to go out.
  • Continue listening to show while in the car on the way to Scamps in Sutton, Surrey ...
  • Where they would play Soul Spectrum on the radio in the club until the show ended.


Shoe - Magenta PlatformAnd most likely, I went out in shoes just like this! Actually, mine were black and bronze. LOL! I could no more walk in those these days than walk on bloody water, but somehow managed to dance & run for busses in them then. (OK, and fell arse over tit not a few times too. :)

In 1976, I met my then future, now ex, husband and you'll immediately understand what the (singular) attraction was if I mention that he was a more than half-reasonable soul DJ in Chertsey, Surrey and that he came complete with a collection of 6,000+ soul records. Mostly 7" vinyl: 12" had only just started. Naturally, mostly "import". None of that released rubbish!

We lived, ate, slept and drank that music and, I hardly missed a moment of Soul Spectrum for ten years. Then I moved outside of the broadcast area and desperately missed it ever since.

Recently, through Toby Walker's SoulWalking, I discovered that Soul Spectrum is available over the internet, on Capital Gold. Greg is now on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it is still the Saturday show I look forward to most.

Bliss! Sanity restored. Or madness, take your pick!

I really don't care which one you choose, just choose one. All I know is that for me it was like coming home. Oh, shit, here I am in retrospective again, but really, I can't help this. Of course it represents another (happier) time in my life, but that music is one of very few things (like cats) for which my passion has never altered.

And, if it hasn't changed in 40+ years, there ain't much hope, is there?

As a side issue, I talked to Junior Giscombe at Solar Radio (which I also listened to in the early 80's) on the phone, earlier this week. I remember when he brought out his first single and Junior was an apt description for his age, not just his name! :)

After Soul Spectrum finishes, I usually switch over to Solar Radio and, last Saturday, was treated to a live concert from the Jazz Cafe in London, with British Jazz-Funk ensemble, Light of the World. Later, John Dean interviewed Leona Lewis.

Brilliant voice and a fresh new talent (yeah, real talent), yet, one of the things they talked about was the fact that British acts are now having to go to the US to record, because they just aren't getting the recognition at home.

American acts have often found it easier to find fame over this side of the pond. Fair exchange then, but isn't it time we all started appreciating what we've got?

I think it is also important to recognize that this "movement" is not just about the music. Talk to any of the "addicts". Listen to Greg and you'll understand why he has a following that has stayed with him for over 30 years, because he cares about stuff.

Read Toby Walker's Opinion page for more examples of soul with conscience & (un)common sense. He certainly does his best to promote new acts too.

Whilst I don't have the industry contacts that Toby Walker has, I certainly used to and I did meet a lot of artists, whose names you'd likely recognize, (even had recording offers myself), so perhaps it is time for me to start my own soul site?

Friday, 26 August 2005

Retrospective Ramblings

I seem to have I caught a retrospective mood ever since I had the awful realization that my ex-husband will have turned 50 on Monday (that is if he is still alive and I do not have the foggiest idea, because I haven't seen him for 26 years).

If he is still alive, he'll, no doubt, be fat, bald and now OLD! Hehehe.

Well, I did say he was my ex. You can't expect me to be nice about this, can you?

Contrary to what my dear mother said on Sunday, I am NOT catching him up.

(Bless her. I'll wring her bloody neck when she visits Christmas. :)

But, I will admit it, this is bothering me a little.

Some people in their 20's are worried about ageing. I wasn't the least bit concerned then and even looked forward to 30. At 40, I felt a mix of resignation with the vain hope that life really was about to begin, but staring 50 in the face (as the above event reminds me, in a mere 18 months time) gives me but one reaction.

Fear. Fear that I'll be well and truly fu*ked - in the non-sexual sense!

I plain just don't like the idea. Heck, I haven't even grown up yet (because I have no particular wish to do so), but here I am looking forward to "old age" and the dubious pleasures of being seen as a "senior" for advertising and marketing purposes.

Thank you, but I don't want no knitted tea-cosies or incontinence pants. (Yet.)

In reality, I'd much rather stamp my feet and go play with my train set, but even that admission - which once could be seen as merely childish - will soon run the risk of having me labelled as SENILE: a poor doddering old fool who has regressed to a second childhood.

Must old people watch how they express pure pleasure?

The past is a great place to go when you want to avoid reality. It doesn't, however, stop the clock. I'm well aware nothing does and that my feelings are probably perfectly normal for someone "of my age". What's your excuse / thoughts?

Sunday, 21 August 2005

Lunch is served

Look closely, yes there really are two cats in that shot! At lunch time, I had just put the cauldron of stew on to re-heat and was about to take the dog out while it did so. Opened the front door to find two "innocent looking" cats, Mico and Betty, sitting behind it, waiting to be let in.

Generally, when you find the two of them together, trouble won't be far away.

He does the hunting and she does the eating. He let's her henpeck him and I think he hands over his spoils, like handing over his wages, just for a quiet life.

Usually, when Mico catches something, he comes up the garden "chirping" away to announce it. He did the other day and I was just in time to see him arrive with a mouse, which he instantly dropped at Betty's feet. She casually wandered off with it, while he just carried on, slowly sauntering toward the house, unperturbed. Resigned.

Why these two comedians couldn't have come in any one of numerous open windows, is anybody's guess, but I'm sure glad they didn't, because there outside the door on the patio was today's lunch of a half-eaten RAT!

Watch the birdie

Now, of course, you can't see them at this scale, but young Balu here was sitting, utterly transfixed on the windowsill, watching a flock of swallows swooping and diving.

(Yeah, and I had great fun watching his head moving in sync, like one of those nodding dog ornaments you see in the back of cars!)

The other day, I couldn't help being distracted by a flock of wild canaries - there must have been about 100 of them - as they all alighted onto the telephone wires.

And while I was keeping an eye on the clouds that were coming up the valley the other day - you dare not let one of those get into the house - I spotted Khan sitting in the field next door, transfixed on five or six geese, belonging to my neighbour, Juan.

I'd forgotten about them actually, because they are normally kept in a pen far enough away that you wouldn't know they were there, unless you go down the other end of my backyard (it has enough vines to make 200 liters of wine, so it is sizable).

Now I remember ... One day that Juan was working in the field and, everywhere he went, they were following him like puppies. I was relieved at the time that I am not the only one around here: it's bad enough having five cats who will follow me everywhere - I am sure I am known as "that mad foreign woman with the cats".

The geese were smaller then. Now they are each bigger than a cat, and Khan was certainly keeping about a 20 foot distance. The cats bring in a steady stream of prey; small rabbits, canaries, mice, rats, lizards by the gross, but I don't think - gee, I hope - none of the cats is going to come in dragging a goose any time soon! :)

Now you see it, now you don't


Robbed! A whole village and a range of mountains disappear overnight.

Who woulda thunk that this panorama would turn into the sight below in the Canary Islands, in August. (It is only the unsightly overhead cables - a subject for a future rant - that provides any clue that this is indeed basically the same view.)

Apparently, it was a tropical front that caused freak storms, which drooped more water on the islands that anyone can remember. It is definitely not normal and even the meteorologists and local government were taken by surprise.

After the tornado in Birmingham, I joked that the next freak weather report would be "Hell freezing over".

Let me tell you, this was about as likely.

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Fair Weather Friends

Everyone knows that cats don't like water, well, with odd exceptions. I happen to have one who will happily stand in a bath of warm water, purring his bloody head off and sensuously pushing into my hands as I massage the shampoo into his back.

(And yeah, he does come out looking a lot like Bert here.)

His brother, Khan, would stand armpit-deep in a metal dog-bowl of water on hot days when he was little and, one day he created great entertainment by doing a kinda triple-jump self-service sheep-dipping dance the length of a full horse-trough. He was dripping wet at the end of it, yet totally un-bothered by the experience.

But, when it's water falling out of the sky, think again! It's been raining here in Tenerife for about 24 hours now, on and off between drizzle and proper rain. Yes, this is newsworthy: it "should" not rain at all here in August.

During a couple of sunny intervals, I let the cats go outside and both times, within 10 minutes, the sky began to get dark. Please note, it only "looked like" it was going to rain again, it hadn't actually gotten around to doing it. And, both of those times, all FIVE cats (not just one or some of them) filed indoors of their own accord. Wimps!

I find this especially curious, because I have had to keep them in quite a lot recently for their safety. So you'd imagine, rain or shine, they'd be dying to go out.

Ah yes, our "wild tiger" - the chap with the bad cattitude.

Couple of days after the last episode, he picked a fight with poor Mico, who came in with his white shirtfront covered in blood. I don't like to see them hurt. I do worry what diseases wild cats might have and I felt especially sorry for Mico, because the blood was coming from a hole that had been ripped open under his chin.

The background to this is that Mico was kicked in the chin several years ago. His lost part of his lip, his jaw was broken and had to be wired and I had to hand-feed him soft food for weeks. He still prefers not to be touched there.

And this time, he felt really sorry for himself too. I've never heard him whine and moan and complain, as he did. After cleaning him up (to a nice rose pink shade), I lay him in my bed and he just stayed as he was put and hardly moved for 24 hours.

His "missus", Betty washed him back to white, then cuddled up with him. A couple of times, I had to shake him to wake him up - just to be sure he was still alive!

The next morning, he was right as rain, of course.

Typical man! They just can't take the pain, can they? :)

After I hadn't seen the pest for a couple of days, I thought we'd try and see if I could let them all out. I mean the poor animals need exercise and fresh air too. But within ONE HOUR, just one solitary hour of letting them out, that bastard was back.

Picking fights, caterwauling and making the dog bark.

So, they were locked up again, until either this nuisance got fed up and terrorizes someone else, gets chased off during the hunting season that began this month (no, I don't wish him anything worse), or I work out a way to catch him.

The hope being that with no-one to beat up and no way he can sneak in the house to scrounge a meal, he will eventually get the message and bugger off.

Five cats and one dog inside one, relatively small, house?

You'd be amazed at how well behaved they were - I was - amongst themselves.

No bickering between them - which was the worry and one of the main reasons for removing them from the problem, because they had started to do so (and had never done before) while they were getting picked on by the "tiger". Practicing, I guess?

With me, they were like little kids on the long school holiday.

"What can I do now mum?"

"I'm bored."

"I'm hungry." (again)

One after another, 24 hours a day and, if I wasn't paying full attention - like if I had the audacity to try to sleep or something - the "request" came accompanied by a thump on the nose by paw full of sharp talons! Ain't they just so sweet?

Last week - finally, touch wood - they were able to sneak out for a few hours in the morning without getting ambushed. And you would think, wouldn't you, that after several weeks of being shut up, that they would be off like lightening. Not so.

They go out, do what they have to do and come back, or they sit on windowsills by open windows until I push their bums out! Or, they come out with me and the dog - all in file like ducklings - and come back and indoors again at the end of the walk.

It's entertaining and I'm glad to have them all relatively close so I know they are safe, but on the level of "normal cat behavior", I just can't work 'em out. :)

Water Saving Shower Alternative

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Oh boy, after just saying how bloody difficult it is to get a shower in hot weather here (well, it is most of the time, due to crappy gas heaters, dodgy plumbing and lousy water pressure), I couldn't help a) laughing like a drain and b) thinking this is a viable alternative.

Channel4's Green-o-Meter (How Green Are You?) Quiz, contains the following question, "To wash yourself, do you normally:" and, after the usual options, humorously, offers ...

c) Coat myself with sardine pate and let the cat do its thing

Yeah, with five of 'em that sounds like a distinct possibility!

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Beat the Heat ...

July was a write-off and, so it seems was half of August, but I don't need to write my own "excuse" post for the lack of action around here (not that I have ever promised there would be any), because I found the perfect one here from Christina, with whom I certainly share a penchant for sleeping till noon and of collecting needy animals.

Christina said in a recent post ...

"I haven't really felt like posting anything lately ... I haven't even really felt like even getting out of bed. So, sorry if the 3 people that read this have felt neglected. It's really hot here and I'm in a pissy mood and dammit if there isn't any chocolate in the house!"

Not meaning to brag or anything, but if my Feedburner stats are correct, I have double that number of (ir)regular readers. Wooo! My personal apology to each of you.

Actually, the chocolate bit doesn't bother me, because sweet things in hot weather just make me nauseous. And the Canary Islands in summer can definitely be HOT.

(Although, of course, Murphy decided that today would be cool and grey, which is ominous, but for which I am actually grateful. As a Brit, who has definitely seen more grey skies than hot dinners, I never thought I would ever catch myself saying that! :)

Well, heat itself isn't the problem, it's when you combine it with insupportable humidity that we've had recently it becomes difficult to take. This was bad enough on the one or two (non consecutive) days of British summer, but I don't know how anyone survives in Florida. A week was enough for me: I had to go inside air-conditioned stores every 50 yards, just to catch my breath and that was waaaay back when I was 23 and healthy!

Despite being on pretty much the same latitude as Miami, being islands with sea breezes and all, we did not used to have this kind of humidity in the Canary Islands, but that has definitely changed over the last few years and, as a fellow island dweller so succinctly put it recently, there is "more humidity than a camel's armpit".

Not that I have ever been near a camel's armpit, or any other part of their anatomy, you understand, but that does sound about right to describe how it feels.

Air conditioning you say?

Hahahahahahhahahahahahaha!

Actually, it has only just appeared in the shops here in the last couple of years.

In this terminally damp house, I couldn't run air-con or we'd have waterfalls running down the walls. I kid you not. Most of the time I can't open the windows either, because that's like opening an oven door, so I have only been able to black out the fierce sunlight so the house is dark and thus relatively cooler, if airless and keep the dehumidifier going, so the house doesn't turn entirely into a Turkish bath.

At the same time, since water pipes are mostly above ground here, come mid-day, if you wanted a shower that was hot enough to scald your arse (you wouldn't) you could. Of course, if you want a cold one (which you do), forget it and wait until 3 a.m.

I know, it sounds like I'm whining about nothing, but if you can find a way to make a brain function properly so you can concentrate or a way to avoid headaches in this kind of environment, please let me know so I can get on with some work.

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