Sunday, 17 February 2013

Social Comment and a new keep fit programme is launched

Poor Mrs B has been in the wars – she popped into hospital for a fairly routine op to remove a small lump (No not me, I’m classed as a large lump) and came out looking like she had gone a couple of rounds with a world heavy weight boxing champion. After going for a wander in the middle of the night, too soon after the general anaesthetic, she managed to feint…..

fortunately her glasses and face broke her fall

– Ouch …

Don’t worry, she is on the mend, although she is extremely grateful that she doesn’t suffer from hay fever, thanks to the number of flowers that have been arriving – The front door has been like Heathrow airport at times, with flower delivery vans stacking around the house waiting for the opportunity to make their final delivery approach…..

Social comment
I had a request to bring back the “Show Me The Sunshine” section – cataloguing our way to a small fortune* through our investment in Solar Panels. Since our panels are currently suffering from S.A.D (Seasonal affective disorder) it is too depressing to report, as we watch our investment burn (if only, any sort of heat would be a blessing at the moment) a hole in our pockets. Still it was always a long term investment and we still have a contract for another 23 years….

* Reminds me of the old joke – “How do you create a small fortune – start with a large one and let me invest it for you….”

So instead I am launching a new section which allows me to make wild and sometimes outrageous statements on the understanding that “It’s just my opinion”. I might have to put a lawyer on a retainer – Sis you’re not doing much at the moment so you have got the job – As long as you can find your Guildford Law school graduation certificate – I don’t want anyone dodgy……While I have known you all my life there were a couple of years before I arrived that I can’t account for (this is possibly a very unsubtle way of getting it out there that you are my “older” sister).

In honour of this I’m also rebranding the comments section of the BlackLOG as “Your Social Comment” - go on knock yourselves out.

Casting my eye around the universe what shall I start with…..?

Let me see….

Middle lane drivers….

Smokers who huddle around doorways and force you to breathe in the vile stench …….

People who don’t acknowledge you when you hold a door open for them……

Choices, choices, choices……


Oh, I Know


I hate Argos** (The Shop, not to be confused with Argo the film, which has proved a bit of a surprise and a triumphant return for Ben Affleck, who in my opinion has not done anything worthwhile since Goodwill Hunting). For those of you outside of the UK (or too posh to use the high street) Argos is a retail shop that makes you feels like you are in a Bookies. Instead of selecting items off shelves you flick through a catalogue (a bit like a racing form book). You then fill out a form (like a betting slip) with one of those quarter size pens that only exist in Bookies (and Argos). You then take your betting slip up to the counter and place your bet make your payment. You are given a slip with one of three zones on it - A, B or C - and have to make your way over to the correct collection point. The Item you selected appears on a conveyor belt and is delivered (if you are lucky) to the correct zone. The wait can seem interminable, especially as you will be waiting around with lots of people in shell suits and slippers – It’s like being in the green room of the Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle show.

** Sadly sometimes the only place you can get something quickly is Argos

I came up with a great way of avoiding waiting around with the “guests” – I put my order in and then went out and had a coffee. The plan was to stroll back in, go directly to the counter and get out quick…..only the Jeremy Kyle henchmen Argos servers had other ideas…. I think they worked out what I had done and left me hanging for twice as long as usual before they strolled over to look at my ticket and even then they pretended that it hadn’t appeared on the magic belt yet.

That taught me a couple of valuable lessons –

Learn to wait for things and never use Argos (or Ikea*** for that matter) again…..

*** Where you queue to get into the car park, queue to get into the shop, queue to look at the items, queue to pay for the item, queue to exit the building, queue to queue to exit the car park ….put the bit of flatcrap together and then shortly afterwards queue to deposit it at the recycle centre that used to be a dump but has now gone all upmarket on us and requires a doctorate (in putting square circles in triangular holes…) to work out which bin everything should go in…

Is it OK to?
I created my first and possibly only tweet this week, when I tweeted Channel 4’s Last Leg’s “Is it OK?” section.

BlackLOG65 - "Is it OK for Oscar Pistorius to fall back on a 'Blade Runner' defence and claim he thought  Reeva was a replicant….?"

The show for once (and probably quite rightly) decided to take the moral high ground and not include any OP jokes…

Not for the first time I find my comedy timing was off and explains why, other than because I’m not particularly funny, I’m not a comedian….
So I guess the answer to the question is a larger than life “No”….

In honour of the show (which is well worth watching by the way), other Is it OK’s in Mr and Mrs B’s world this week:

  • Is it OK to claim that Mrs B was in hospital for a face job?
Absolutely not

  • Is it OK to claim that I’ve been beating her again?
No – because:

1). If I had beaten her it would be the first time; and
2). She would kill me – she can be quite feisty if provoked.
  • Is it OK to try and get your overweight cat to exercise by tempting him with food….?
 This is a tricky one – while it is great to see McG moving about
 – the effort he expends to get the food is minimal. See Photo Finish
(which has been re-branded for this week as 'The Last Picture Show'
as it is video and not photographic) below as evidence.

The Last Picture show

 The Kittyball workout

The Kittyball workout is the result of years of extensive research and development (i.e McG has taken years to work out how to get a treat out of the ball).

It should not be attempted by the faint hearted (Was Mrs B’s face plant a result of the anaesthetic or was it a sneaky go on McG’s Kittyball)

It should not be attempted without first paying large sums of money to the developers of this Programme “BlackLOG lose your pounds, dollars sense enterprises” (While this won’t help you in any way - unless you want to get your needle through the eye of a camel**** - it will help swell my bank balance.)

**** The other way was far too complicated and what’s a bit of camel spit and a kick in the chipmunks***** between friends

***** Which ironically end up looking like a camels toe for days afterwards – don’t try this without losing your common sense first

Hope to see you next time....

Friday, 8 February 2013

Tikaram, Lewis and the Robin

Mrs B and I found ourselves once again at Cadogan Hall (it seems to be our venue of choice at the moment.) – This time to see Tanita Tikaram. I had been attempting to broker a photo pass but while I had tacit agreement*, I had not actually received final confirmation. I was not feeling confident. Still, I took The Beast (Nikon D700) along, more in hope than expectation.
* In that I had been given the info about the standard etiquette of first three songs only, no flash etc and that my details had been passed on to the person responsible for press and photo requests.

Picking up the tickets at the box office I asked if a photo pass had been left for me… I was told the list hadn’t come through yet and to try again later. This was cruel… but hey my hopes were still alive… We trudged around the corner to Sloane Square and found a nice little bistro for supper.
We returned via the box office. Yes the list had come through….

No I wasn’t on it…

My head dropped….but I have never been one to give up easily…

I had a couple of names and I was going to use them.

I tried the first name which drew a blank, so it was time to go all in….

My final throw of the dice….

I chucked them, they spun around, catching the light as they fell slowly through the air…

The second name was on the list for a guest pass but not a photo pass….

The helpful lady behind the desk said “Can you hang on a moment?” and vanished into the depth of the building....

The dice continued to tumble

I then heard a voice say “I’m sorry sir”

My heart sank, I was about to mutter “Thanks for trying…”

“There was a bit of a mix up” She handed me the nirvana of concert photographers’ dreams, the much esteemed concert pass….

Whoo-hoo - Photo Pass no. 3 – OK so all my passes so far have been for stars who started out in the 80’s….baby steps, next one is to aim for the 90’s

We entered the auditorium and found our seats in the 6th row – just to the right of centre stage, not a bad position. The support came on – Al Lewis – I had not heard of him and my expectations were not high –

He turned out to be a pleasant surprise – a great voice and I really liked the music – on vocals he was accompanied by Sarah Howells from Paper Aeroplanes and their voices really complimented each other.

Al was quite chatty between songs and at one point plugged his and Sarah’s records, which were for sale in the foyer after the set… I decided to make my play

Me - “Al, if you are up for a deal, I’ve been lucky enough to get a photo pass for Tanika – If I buy your album during the interval will you allow me to take some photos?”

AL - “First time I’ve negotiated on stage – Hmmm, Sounds fair though – What do you think Audience?…. ”

General murmur of approval – no need to go 50/50 or phone a friend

Al – “Yep I’ll go for that.”

Me - “Thanks I’ll see you at the break”

The Beast – "Bshk, Bshk, Bshk"

As far as I was concerned it was a great deal for me - a total win, win - I’m not sure of the etiquette of taking photos of the support act if you have a pass for the main act. Plus, Mrs B gets a little fed up with the size of my CD collection** and for once she could not argue with my need to make a purchase…after all a deal’s a deal.

** Much of it has now been transferred to a digital format, so that it can squeeze onto my Ipods (2 x 160GB classics, a 64GB Iphone and a 32GB Ipod Touch – What can I say? It’s a big collection and even then not all of it fits on the Ipod fleet***). Mrs B says I should sell or give away the CDs although I have a moral dilemma with that as I feel it would take away my ownership rights. They currently reside in the loft acting as a fairly effective insulation …

*** In my defence I used to take a suitcase full of CDs with me when I went on holiday****, I remember the first time I visited New York and came across Madison Avenue – I had an overwhelming urge to listen to – Kirsty Maccoll’s “Walking Down Madison” which was, of course, at home…. The moment was gone, just like Kirsty…Life’s short and then you get whacked by a speedboat…

**** With the strict weight restrictions that go with air travel these days this is no longer practical, especially as The Beast likes to travel with a number of changes of lens and other accessories – leaving me, if I’m lucky, with a toothbrush and a clean set of underwear….

I was a bit disappointed at first – Tanita opened up with “Good Tradition” her big break-through song… along with the next few numbers it was hurried and she seemed nervous – Perhaps she thought someone was taking shots at her…. Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk….. Then she hit her stride, started talking to the audience in-between songs and settled down. She had some great musicians supporting her on guitar, double bass, sax, clarinet and flute and piano. I love her deep voice - taking the songs to wonderful depths, with the occasional tones of a young Annie Lennox (particularly on the songs on her recent album "Can't Go Back")... Towards the end there were a few requests being shouted out – I decided to get my tuppence worth in…

Me - “Poor Cow! By the way that is a song request not a social comment!”

Tanita - “It’s not one of my better songs.”

Me – “I’ve always liked it.”

Someone from behind - “Keep it real”*****

Tanita - “well, let’s see if you like this one instead.“

And indeed I did….

***** I thought that was a bit rude, after all that’s just my opinion……I realised later that “Keep it real” is one of Tanita’s songs ….Doh!

The Problem with The Beast While The Beast is great for shooting in low light he sure likes to make a noise about it. Both Al and Tanita are on the quiet side, with intimate sets which means you have to work hard not to be intrusive on the listening pleasure of the people in the immediate vicinity.

I had spoken to the people sitting around me and explained I had a photo-pass and it might be a little noisy for the first three songs but The Beast would go away after that…. Everyone was fine about it, although the photography became a bit more challenging with Mrs B constantly digging me in the ribs and making shooshing noises…I can just imagine what it sounded like to those around us

Tanita – “There is a good tradition of love and hate stayin' by the fireside”

The Beast – Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk ……. Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk,Chk

Thwack – the sound of Mrs B’s Elbow against my ribs

Me – “Ouch”

Mrs B - “Shoosh”

Tanita – “An' though the rain may fall, your father's calling you”

The Beast – Bshk….. Bshk….. Bshk

I took The Beast of Machine Gun mode and settled for individual shots

Thwack – the sound of Mrs B’s Elbow against my ribs

Me – “Ouch”

Mrs B – “Can’t you turn the sound down or off ….”

Me – “No, it’s an SLR. The noise it makes is the camera mechanism doing its stuff. I’ve only got three songs ”

Tanita – “Well, there's a good tradition of love and hate stayin' by the fireside”

Writing this down reminds me why I woke up with that mysterious bruising down my right hand side…

So that’s another X-file case solved.

Hope to see you  next time  - I'll leave you in the capable hands of The Beast....

Photo Finish

Tanita Tikaram - 2nd February - Cadogan Hall - London
My third photo pass

"Good Tradition" from 1988s "Ancient Heart"
"Twist In My Sobriety" from 1988s "Ancient Heart"
"Sunface" from "Everybody's Angel"
"Harm In Your Hands" from  1990s "The Sweet Keeper"

Rock and Roll - From 2012's "Can't Go Back"

I've always felt there is not enough double base in R and R
"Poor Cow" from 1988s "Ancient Heart"
Please note it was a song request not a
social comment....
Al Lewis
Sort of fourth, if unofficial photo pass - more of a photo agreement

Al Lewis
Blackbird and the Magpie - 2012 B side
Al Lewis & Sarah Howells

"There with You" from 2013s "Battle" 
"Fall from Grace"

From the Pete Townshend school of Guitar playing
As a break from all that concert footage I have been stalking a Robin around the garden....Or has he been stalking us? - I opened the front door the other day to find him cavorting in the front hedge

I waited for ages but still no Batman
just his little sidekick....

The local drug problem is really getting out of hand

That line can't be just for personal use....

Branching out....