Sunday, 21 January 2018

A certain kind of light

I'm in the mood for some Eric Burdon, and of course it will also serve as a belated tribute to Sir Barry:

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


I now have a temporary crown and can eat properly again. On top of that the roofer rose heroically from his sick bed, looked at my roof, agreed that it was leaking and said that he would be back in a fortnight. Normal service has been resumed.

All of which calls for some roof music. There's lots of choice, but we'll plump for one featuring the much missed Humphrey Lyttleton:

By the way James has posted the details of the 3-way scenario we played over the last couple of weeks here. I shall be off shortly to try my hand as the Russians in a re-run. And it will the second gaming experience of the week, because I have broken not only my porridge-only diet, but also my boardgaming fast. I played a couple of co-operative games, but found that the hiatus had made me dislike them less than previously; we lost them both of course. I also tried out someone's prototype of a game they had designed themselves, which is always an interesting experience. On this occasion we conclusively proved that it didn't work with six players, and I'm sure he is grateful to know that.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Worried Life Blues

So, my new crown has fallen out after all that time and discomfort spent putting it in, it's pouring with rain, my roof is leaking and my roofer has gone down with the 'flu (genuinely). Good job I haven't got anything else on my mind.

As we've been listening to piano blues lets have some Big Maceo Merriweather:

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sarah, Sarah, Sitting in a Shoe Shine Shop

I have been to see Ben Waters. He is an exponent of the boogie-woogie piano (he was the entertainment at Jools Holland's wedding if that puts him into context), and I confess I was feeling a certain trepidation at the thought of sitting through two hours' worth of eight to the bar and walking blues bass lines, accompanied no doubt by out of time handclapping from the audience. I was however, more than pleasantly surprised, because Waters mixed up the musical styles with plenty of rock & roll, plus some less expected covers such as the Kinks, the Beatles and ABBA. On top of which he was an amusing and entertaining raconteur. I was aware that he had connections with the Rolling Stones and he had several anecdotes about the various band members; although to be honest if you can't make something funny out of material like Jagger and Richards then you're in the wrong business.

He also told a number of stories about his mentor, the man who, himself steeped in the traditions, passed on the tricks of this particular piano style (and incidentally taught Waters very well because I had a good view of the keys and his hands were an absolute blur as he played). Given that this is a type of music that originated in New Orleans a century and more ago you can imagine the sort of mental image I had as he spoke. All of which proves that one should never jump to conclusions because the chap in question turned out to hail from Ilkley, and furthermore was sitting in the audience. Thus it was that a sprightly Yorkshire pensioner took to the stage, banged out a few numbers and regaled the audience with his own yarns about playing with Fats Domino, Dr John and the like; although sadly not Professor Longhair, perhaps that would have been too much to ask for. It's a funny old world.

One expectation that wasn't dashed - the audience clapped completely out of time all the way through.

We need some music at this point. Here's something from Fats Domino that speaks to me for some reason:

Friday, 12 January 2018

If three and four was seven only

I have been to see 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'; good film, funny, sad, full of twists. My only reservation is that even I don't believe that in the US the police either routinely behave like that or would get away with it if they did. It shares many tropes with 'Wind River' - which I suspect that I have never mentioned seeing before - but was the better film. Maybe it's just that the implausibility level was dialled back a bit; when violence broke out in this one you could sort of see where they were coming from. I think they are both essentially westerns set in the present day; perhaps it's cheaper to film that way, perhaps it's easier to get funded. I had hoped to catch a real western ('Hostiles') last week, but it doesn't seem to have stuck around in the cinema for too long. I'll have to hope that the local arts centre puts it on in one of their oap matinees with free tea and biscuits.

Here's the original version of a song from Three Billboards' soundtrack that struck a chord:

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Sans morale, aucune chance pour les hommes.

“You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them.” - Xenephon

We concluded the three-way Seven Years War game last night and somewhat to my surprise I won. I am not entirely sure whether to feel embarrassed or vindicated. The former because I set up completely wrong and changed my plan after literally a few minutes. The second because when I started a radical readjustment of my forces my opponents scoffed and claimed that they would have carried on regardless. I won quite comfortably as it turned out, but until close to the end it could easily have gone either way.

Indeed it was the sort of game that if you like Piquet reinforces why and if you don’t like Piquet, well it reinforces why just the same. The luck evened out as it usually does, but the way it fell definitely suited me. For the first week I got all the initiative and my opponents fared much better in combat. However, there wasn’t much fighting and I was able to use my runs of initiative and my better deck to move my right flank away from the pursuing Russians and concentrate them against the Austrians. This week the allies had all the initiative, but couldn’t do anything with it because my better army and good dice rolling meant that I did far more damage than them. The fact that they failed Major Morale twice in a row didn’t do any harm to my cause either. Coming back to Piquet, the changes we have made to the original morale rules are definitely a big improvement.

Next week we shall all be shuffling counter-clockwise round the table and giving it another go. I hope James takes some photos and posts it up this time as it’s a nice little scenario.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

What became of all the time

Just a quick post to say that I have done nothing whatever regarding anything at all except make a flying visit to that there London; you will be pleased to know that Revelation 21:21 still applies. 

I won't bore you with what I got up to - which ranged from Rhus verniciflua (or do I mean Toxicodendron vernicifluum?), through Justin 'Nigel' de Villeneuve (the chap Peter Cook bangs on about on Derek and Clive Come Again), all the way to Allectus (the accountant who assassinated his boss and declared himself Emperor; your bloggist nods approvingly) - so let's have some music instead. Here's Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt: