Friday, September 19, 2008
Yes, I admit it. There are some albums by Queen in my voluminous music collection. I am particularly fond of the first four albums, but some of the later ones also have their moments. I also have several albums by Free although I always thought Bad Company were pants.
Can you see where this is going?
When it was announced that Free singer Paul Rogers (OK I didn't like anything else he did post-Free) had teamed up with Messrs Meddows-Taylor and May I was mildly intrigued. Paul Rogers at his best was an incredibly soulful rock singer, and had one of the bext voices in late 60s/early 70s music. So I downloaded some live stuff they did.
It was terrible.
I should, I suppose, have been prepared for this by the fact that ex-bassist John Deacon, who was by far the most self-effacing member of the band, had refused to have anything to do with the project.
It turned out that a dear friend of mine (who shall remain nameless cos I won't out him) went to see them live. They were, apparently, dreadful.
So I played some tracks to Richard Freeman.
"What is this shit?" he said
But still, fond as I am of Wishing Well and My Brother Jake, I insisted to all my friends that once the album - with new material that had not been penned for Fred to sing came out, the band would be vindicated. I was sure it would all be alright in the end.
Well it ain't.
This is the nastiest, most cynical, vile piece of capitalist shit that I have ever heard. It is almost pornographic in its insincerity. It sounds great - but then again it would. The lyrics are banal and childish, and the whole thing is executed about as well as a saturday night pub band. There can be no reason for this album to have been made apart from to make three rich men richer.
So I have been in bed, being a trial to my nearest and dearest, and feeling appaling (and probably acting and looking worse). But now I am able to sit up and do stuff, even though I am still as weak as a kitten.
Redders wrote: His missus is still unwell, but seems to be a little better - more news when I have it. No more news on Doc, and the administrative problems to which I alluded seem to be retreating somewhat........
Still, September ain't much fun so far....
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tessie has been buried at the bottom of the side lawn at the CFZ. There are quite a few other work-related problems that I am not at liberty to talk about at the moment, but the good news is that Richard and I have now done about fifteen minutes of the Russia movie, Exotic Pets #6 is well under way, as is the Russia expedition book, and Dave Penna came round to dinner last night to discuss the possibility of reforming The Amphibians from Outer Space so - recession notwithstanding - all is far from lost.
Onwards and Upwards
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tess was unique among the dogs I have had as she was the only one that I didn’t know since she was a puppy. Her background is hazy. Apparently she had first been owned by a disabled man who could not exercise her as well as he would have like. He passed her onto a friend who later, because of work commitments passed her on to a woman named Tracey Freestone who subsequently became Graham’s girlfriend.
Tess was around nine when we had her but was often mistaken for a puppy she was so active and playful. During summer she never tired of diving into the river after balls. She made friends everywhere she went. In particular a lady who worked in the WH Smiths on Exeter train station always enquired after her. Many times her past owners and their friends would stop and make a fuss of her.
When Jon moved up to Woolsery, Tess came along as he had a large garden and there were plenty of country walks to be had. About a year ago, Tess fell victim to a condition where the corneas on her eyes slipped, leaving her blind. Both operations and medicine failed to
save her sight. However she got along quite well, finding her way round the house and garden.
Over the past few months she had become increasingly frail and prone to collapse. This condition worsened until she could not walk. She merely
stood around then violently collapsed when she tried to move. In order to save her any suffering, I had her put to sleep on Tuesday 16th of September 2008.
To me losing a dog is like losing a child. I’ve always preferred dogs to people. There is no duplicity about them. They have no hidden agenda. A dog gives its love totally and truly.
Goodbye, Daddy’s little girl.
The Power of the Dog
Buy a pup and your money will buy
When the fourteen years that nature permits,
We've sorrow enough in the natural way
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My new book is using the decline, extirpation, and - in one case extinction - of various species of British lepidoptera, as well as an examination of changing population trends and deliberate introductions, as an analogy by which to look at the subject of cryptozoology as a whole.
A lot has been written about the subject of trying to fit cryptozoology into mainstream zoology - this is doing almost completely the opposite.
However, in order to make the thing readable, as well as giving me a chance to put into print various things that I have never been able to fit into a book before, so the whole thing is being presented alongside a series of my own life experiences...
It is also the first time for thirteen years that I am collaborating with my old mate Richard Muirhead, who I have known since I was a boy in Hong Kong, and who did much of the background research for The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry and who's own life experiences, some of which are shared with me, are actually an integral part of the story.
There is a lot more, but I don't want to give it away just yet, partly so no-one else pips us to the post, and partly because if I reveal all of the story here in my blog there will be no point in anyone going out to buy my book when it finally comes out next year.
This, by the way, is why - I believe - that a well known publisher who specialised in books based around people's blogs, went bust earlier this year. Nobody wants to pay for what they can get for free.
I can't remember if I have plugged our latest books on here, but if I haven't may I reccomend Karl Shuker's latest Dr Shuker's Casebook.
"Although he is best-known for his extensive cryptozoological researches and publications, Dr Karl Shuker has also investigated a very diverse range of other anomalies and unexplained phenomena, both in the literature and in the field.
Travelling the world in search of mysteries and marvels of every kind, Dr Shuker has climbed the volcanic slopes of Easter Island on the trail of moai and manbirds, he has traversed the Theban necropolis of Egypt's West Bank in search of a singing Colossus and the head of Ozymandias, he has journeyed to Woolpit in the footsteps of its mystifying Green Children, and to Niagara on the lookout for its long-lost winged cat.
Whether it be flying over the Bermuda Triangle (four times!) , inspecting cropfield circles in Buckinghamshire, questing for mermaids and unicorns, gazing in awe at a putative living dinosaur emblazoned upon the magnificent Ishtar Gate of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, revealing a bizarre yet hitherto-undocumented bat-winged monster encountered in the heartland of Kent, uncovering an anachronistic Cambodian stegosaur at Angkor Wat, peering in hope across the dark waters of Loch Ness and the monster-haunted lakes of Iceland, seeking resurrected avifauna in New Zealand, finding solace in the stark majesty of Stonehenge and the holy grandeur of Lourdes, charting the preternatural entities of Senegambia's forests or Australia's Dreamtime, tracking elusive black panthers on Exmoor, or unmasking serpent-necked panthers on an enigmatic artefact from the ancient Middle East, if there are mysteries to be investigated, Dr Shuker is in hot pursuit.
Now, compiled here for the very first time, are some of the extraordinary cases that he has re-examined or personally explored down through the years - from sky beasts and reptoids, statues that weep, bleed, and even come to life, vanishing planets and invisible saints, frog rain and angel hair, and the world's weirdest ghosts and aliens, to a chiming tower of porcelain and a talking head of brass, spooklights and foo fighters, Herne the Hunter and photographed thought-forms, the chirping pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, magical mirrii dogs Down Under, and the most comprehensive study ever published of winged cats in which he successfully unveils their long-debated cryptic identity.
All of that, and much more, await you inside this arcane archive of inexplicabilia, dubitanda, and mirabilia or, as we prefer to call it, Dr Shuker's Casebook. "